Filipino basketball fans recall how Avelino “Samboy” Lim dazzled them when suited up for teams such as the Letran Knights, the Philippine national team and his PBA tenure.
Unfortunately, injuries prevented Lim being seen regularly on the basketball court. Samboy ended up retiring abruptly in 1997. However, it was not the end for the man also known as “The Dragon.”
In February 1998, teams from the Philippine Basketball League (PBL) and the Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) believed that Samboy could still play competitively. In the end, it was Welcoat Paints who persuaded the nine-time PBA champion to join their cause.
“Malaking honor sa ‘min na mag-decide si Samboy na maglaro para sa Welcoat,” Que said to sportswriters at the time.
It was added that the long-time friendship of Que with Lim was what influenced the latter to sign a one-year deal with the Paint Masters with the formal announcement set for February 13, 1998.
Samboy chose friendship over money
Samboy’s decision also meant he prioritized friendship over money. Two MBL teams, the Pasig Blue Arrows and the Pangasinan Presidents, were determined to land the 1993 PBA Sportsmanship Award winner.
It was suggested then that Lim was to get a package made up of endorsements, an undisclosed bonus scheme and a monthly take-home pay of PHP 70,000 although Que did not get into detail.
“Dalawang MBA teams ang kumukuha sa kanya pero binigyang halaga pa rin niya ang pinagsamahan namin mula pa noong Letran days niya. He will definitely be of great help to us,” the Welcoat Paint Masters team owner stated.
Lim reunited with former San Miguel teammate Dong Polistico and another ex-pro in Bong Marata.