By Brian Yalung
The basketball world got shaken up on Saturday evening, December 23, after it was announced that Avelino “Samboy” Lim had passed away. He was 61 years old.
Most will remember Samboy Lim as a high-flyer, a reason behind his nickname “The Skywalker.” Lim collapsed after a PBA Legends exhibition game in November 2014 and was rushed to a hospital unconscious via Spin.ph.
Lim had a memorable career, one of the most exciting players ever to play in the PBA.
In a phone interview with coach Norman Black, he revealed that the former Letran Knight played a big part in his basketball career here in the Philippines.
“I was just saddened that we lost him. All my blessings and prayers to his family. It’s tough. You not only lose a teammate but you lose a good friend,” Black stated.
“I played with him for probably nine years, won nine championships with him and he was always a big part of our team. He was a great basketball player, no question about that, probably the most exciting player ever to play in the PBA,” Black added.
Black also shared how Samboy would dazzle on the basketball court once he is called to play. But other than his daredevil plays, Lim is best remembered as a nice person on and off the court.
“His highwire, skywalking. He would bring [that] every night on the basketball court, something other players only wish they could do. But more than that, he was a really, really nice person. He was a good friend and that is why I made sure I tried to stay in touch with him all these years. We had a lot of good experiences together at San Miguel, especially winning the grand slam in 1989,” Black quipped.
Samboy was super talented, always smiling
When asked what he could not forget about Samboy Lim, Black said that it was his smile and being a super-talented player.
“Probably always smiling. Always happy. There was never really moments or bad experiences. He was always nice to everyone. So happy with everyone. Very, very quick to smile to everyone,” Black shared.
“In addition to that, he was a low maintenance guy, very easy to coach, a smart basketball player so he could follow directions easily and follow our game plan. More importantly, he was just super talented. He outjumped probably 98% of the people in the PBA when he played… he probably outjumped everybody,” the veteran PBA coach said.
Samboy Lim deserved place among the stars
Overall, Black said that Samboy Lim possessed the skills to be a star in the league. As far as popularity, the two-time PBA best import felt that the Skywalker was up there along with Robert “Sonny” Jaworski.
“He had the skills to be the star in the league. There was a stretch where Sonny Jaworski was probably the most popular player in the league. But Samboy had to be right there with him. I mean if Samboy wasn’t the most popular, he was the best and most exciting in the league,” the 11-time PBA champion coach ended.
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