By: Graham C. Lim
8th January 2013
To my fallen comrade Lito, I salute you.
Mr. Gonzalo “Lito” G. Puyat II, age 79, who passed away on January 7, 2013 was twice elected as FIBA President in 1976 and 1980, was at the forefront of the various up-and-down years in the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP), where it was its President starting in 1968 as the successor of former senator and 1936 Olympian Ambrosio Padilla.
I will always remember him as a father-like figure who taught me how to live a simple and clean life and how to run the BAP following my ascension as its Secretary General in the 1990s.
Puyat stood as a godfather during my wedding. For years, I regularly visited him at his Makati City residence to seek his advice on how to run the BAP.
At the time of his death, Mr. Puyat held the position BAP Chairman Emeritus.
Among his closest friends who regularly kept in touch with him were former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Atty. Dominador Cepeda, veteran journalist Augusto "Gus" Villanueva, baseball great Filomeno “Boy” Codiñera and ex-Olympian Arturo Valenzona.
Their talks usually centered around basketball developments in the past and present and his distinguished eight-year tenure in the FIBA as its president.
Mr. Puyat was a Hall of Famer whose picture hangs in the museum that housed the USA Hall of Fame in the Olympic village in Springfield, Colorado. He is the only Filipino to be bestowed such an honor for his various contributions to world basketball.
Puyat was responsible for the Philippines' hosting of the 1978 World Basketball Championship in Manila.
I will surely miss Mr. Puyat but will continue to treasure the fatherly advice he had given me through the years.
Goodbye my comrade and godfather.