Samboy Lim

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Samboy Lim
Personal information
Born (1962-04-01) April 1, 1962 (age 56)
Manila, Philippines
Listed height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High schoolSan Beda College
CollegeColegio de San Juan de Letran
PBA draft1986 Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall
Selected by the San Miguel Beermen
Playing career1986–1998
Career history
1986Lhuillier Jewelers (PABL)
1986–1997San Miguel Beermen
1998Welcoat House Paints (PBL)
Career highlights and awards

Avelino Borromeo Lim, Jr. (born April 1, 1962), better known as Samboy "The Skywalker" Lim, is a Filipino retired professional basketball player of the Philippine Basketball Association and many time national player in the 1980s.

As a shooting guard, he distinguished himself with his above-the-rim play and often dangerous forays to the basket, punctuated by acrobatic shots, hang-time moves or a slam dunk. He did not win a Most Valuable Player Award because he did not get to complete a full season due to the many injuries he sustained on the court.[1]


Amateur career[edit]

Samboy spent a year's residence at Letran before finally seeing action in the NCAA in 1982. In his first year, he was a strong MVP contender but teammate Jerry Gonzales, who was the hero in Letran's last two games, won the coveted plum. In 1983, Lim was again frustrated in his bid for an MVP award as another teammate Romeo Ang was adjudged Most Valuable Player. Samboy was all set to join the NCC squad of coach Ron Jacobs even before the start of the 1984 NCAA tournament but he begged for a grace period so he could play in the collegiate league. Samboy finally won the NCAA MVP trophy as he led the Knights to a grandslam, their third straight NCAA seniors championships from 1982 to 1984, under coach Larry Albano.

Lim has been a consistent national team member. His first stint with the nationals was during the 1983 SEA Games in Singapore where the Philippines retained the title. In 1984, he was a mainstay of the RP Youth team and the RP quintet in the Asian Interclub. He readily marched off to the Ron Jacobs camp the following year and as a rookie of Northern Consolidated squad, the guest amateur quintet in the PBA, he has dislodged several stars from their starting position and is always among the first five players off the bench. Samboy won championships with the nationals in the Jones Cup, SEA Games and the ABC crown in early 1986. After the NCC core disbanded, he was selected as part of the Philippine national team that competed in the 1986 Asian Games. He was one of the main players and top scorers of the national team that went on to win the bronze medal.

Samboy's first commercial team was the Lhuillier Jewelers in the PABL First Conference in 1986. He spearheaded the ballclub to a title, together with Jojo Lastimosa and Al Solis. [2]

Professional career[edit]

In September 1986, the cream of amateur cagers, including former national players, are seeking their release from the BAP to turn pro and join the comebacking San Miguel team (To be known as Magnolia Cheese) in the PBA Third Conference. Samboy, along with Elmer Reyes, were release upon their return from the Asian Games. Lim made his pro debut on October 7, 1986 as Magnolia scored their first win against Alaska after three straight losses.

He was injury-prone the next two seasons (1987-88) although Lim led the San Miguel Beermen to the third conference crown, winning the finals MVP in the 1988 Third Conference. Outstanding hang time earned him the monicker "Skywalker" and previous injuries have not stopped him from playing with reckless abandon and he still comes up with acrobatic and unbelievable shots.

Sat out 11 games early in the 1989 Open Conference, Samboy missed "only" 18 games the whole season, the year San Miguel Beermen won the Grandslam and Lim was the team's third-leading scorer with 15.2 ppg (13th-best in the league that season).

He finally had an injury-free season in 1990. This resulted in his emerging as San Miguel's leading scorer. Lim scored 42 points in the 2nd PBA All-Star Game and was named Most Valuable Player. He was hands down choice as member of the RP Team in the Asian Games in Beijing, China and was selected in the Asian Games Mythical five. Samboy could have made it to the Mythical five in the PBA for the first time had his team fared better in the Third Conference. Nevertheless, the dragon, as he is often called besides the skywalker, settled for the Mythical Ten.

In 1993, he was awarded with the first ever sportsmanship award for his exemplary behavior on the court. Lim is also a member of the Mythical Second Team Selection twice (1990 and 1993). His remarkable play was a joy to watch and he was a constant fan favorite because of his aerial maneuvers. However, also because of those seemingly inhuman skills, Lim suffered numerous serious injuries that limited his PBA career to just nine seasons. Despite the fact that he never won an MVP award, Lim was considered by fans as the "Real MVP."

Throughout his career, he sported jersey no. 9 and wore knee-high socks, his testament and tribute to his idol Julius "Dr. J" Erving even though he stood only five feet eleven inches tall.

Later career and retirement[edit]

In 1998, Lim joined the Philippine Basketball League to play for the Welcoat House Paints and retiring that year becoming its team manager. In 2000, he was named into the PBA's 25 Greatest Players. In his entire PBA career, he played for only one team, San Miguel Beer, he later served as San Miguel team manager. In 2006, he assumed the team manager post of SMB's sister team Barangay Ginebra Kings.

In 2005, PBA fans had another chance to see him put his intensity and high-wire forays back on the court as he suited up for the PBA Greats Team. The PBA Greatest Game was held in the Araneta Coliseum as thousands of fans watched their favorite legends and great players of all time play. Lim scored 29 points that game.

On October 6, 2016 the PBA renamed the Sportsmanship Award in his honor as he was the first recipient of the feat.


Lim's health had been an issue during his playing days, with the numerous injuries he suffered as a result of his high-flying, death-defying moves on the court. After his retirement from active play, he kept himself fit by lifting weights, jogging and playing basketball. He has also set up a basketball clinic for kids.

In the evening of November 28, 2014, he was rushed to a hospital unconscious after collapsing just minutes after coming out of a PBA Legends exhibition game at the Ynares Center in Pasig City. According to fellow PBA great Nelson Asaytono, Lim was doing some stretching on the sideline shortly after being pulled out of the game by Legends coach Bogs Adornado when he collapsed.[3] He slipped into a coma, and was first admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Medical City, before he was later transferred to the intermediate care unit.[4] On January 14, 2015, he slipped out of his comatose state and was brought home where he will continue to receive treatment and therapy.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Samboy Lim was married to Darlene Marie Berberabe, president and CEO of Home Development Mutual Fund, commonly known as PAG-IBIG Fund,[6] with whom he has a daughter Jamie Christine.[7] Berberabe and Lim have since separated.

Career PBA highlights[edit]

  • Member, PBA's 25 Greatest Players
  • Member, 1989 San Miguel Grand Slam Team
  • 2-time Mythical Second Team Selection (1990 and 1993)
  • First ever recipient of the Sportsmanship Award (1993)
  • 4-time PBA All-Star
  • 1990 PBA All-Star Game MVP
  • PBA's 25 Greatest Player Award
  • PBA's 40 Greatest Player Award
  • PBA Hall of Fame Award, Class 2009

Other highlights[edit]

  • MVP - 1982 ASEAN School Youth Championship
  • NCAA MVP (Letran Knights)
  • Member, 1990 Asian Games (Silver Medal)
  • Member, 1986 Asian Games (Bronze Medal)
  • Member, Mythical Five (1990 Asian Games)

Winning Championships:

  • NCAA Seniors Grandslam Team Letran, 1982, 1983, and 1984
  • 1984 FIBA Asian Club Basketball Cup Champion NCC/San Miguel Philippines, 1984
  • 1985 South East Asian Games Champion NCC/San Miguel Philippines, 1985
  • PBA Reinforced Conference Champion (Amateur Guest Team) NCC, 1985
  • William Jones Cup International Basketball Champion NCC/San Miguel Philippines, 1985
  • FIBA Asia Champion NCC/San Miguel Philippines, 1986
  • PABL Champions Lhulliers Jewellers Team, 1986
  • PBA Grandslam Team San Miguel Beer, 1989 Open Conference, 1989 All-Filipino Conference, 1989 Reinforced Conference
  • PBA All-Filipino Champion San Miguel Beer, 1992
  • PBA Governor's Cup Champion San Miguel Beer, 1993
  • PBA All-Filipino Cup Champion San Miguel Beer, 1994

Memorable moments[edit]

  • 37 points against Banco di Roma of Italy in the 1985 FIBA World Club Championships in Girona, Spain
  • 27 points in San Miguel Beer's prestige-laden win over the IBA All-Stars
  • 42 points to help the Veterans team clobber the combined RSJ team 146-118 (June 3, 1990 PBA All-Star Game).
  • In the 1993 All-Filipino Finals Cup, Samboy made a memorable halfcourt shot at the buzzer against Coney Island. The shot made a huge impact to the game and to the series even though they did not win the title.
  • Samboy Lim pioneered the cross-over head shoulder fake. He uses this to fake and by-pass his defender.
  • He was a weird free-throw habit. Samboy messes up his hair before taking a shot in the free-throw lane and he doesn't bend his knees.
  • Samboy Lim took over the PBA Top Ten Plays of the Week. His skywalking, driving, and passing moves was usually on the top spot every week.
  • Aside from an All-Star MVP award in the PBA, Samboy won an MVP award in the NCAA as he propelled the Letran Knights to a grandslam feat during the early 1980s.
  • Due to the style of his high-wire game, Samboy never completed a season in the PBA due to injuries. One of his tragic injuries was a heated game with Purefoods. Regaining momentum in the last quarter after trailing most of the game, Samboy drove past several defenders and was inadvertently clotheslined by Jojo Lastimosa in the air. This caused Samboy's body to lose control and went flying upside down hitting his head first then shoulder on the hardwood floor. Blood spilled and he was taken out in a stretcher. He had a cut in his forehead that needed 18 stitches outside and 8 stitches inside to close up. Jojo, a close friend of Samboy visited him at Makati Medical Center. According to Jojo, the first thing that Samboy mentioned is "Who won the game?" This was the attitude of a true sportsman and a friend. Also during that game, the collision sent Samboy in a somersault and his foot hit the board. This is one of the most tragic injury witnessed by everyone in a basketball game.
  • In 1993, the Sports Committee of the PBA created this award for Samboy because he was a true sportsman of the game. Also according to the media, the committee wanted to give this special award to Samboy in honor of his impact to the game and that he just couldn't complete a season because of injuries. For the many, this award for Samboy was almost considered an MVP award.
  • Also in 1993, Samboy Lim and Hector Calma volunteered to have their salary cut in order to acquire their good friend, Allan Caidic (who was a free agent from the disbanded Presto Ice Cream). This deal resulted in multiple championships. Back then, San Miguel was an All-Star studded team composed of great players like Ramon Fernandez and Ato Agustin.
  • Samboy wore the number 9 since his collegiate days up to the international games and in his entire career in the PBA.
  • Samboy is the only player known to get applauses and standing ovation from fans (even fans from the opposing team) as he walks to the scoring table to enter the game. He also gets a thundering roar from the crowd whenever he touches the ball.
  • There are many famous basketball players who idolize him. Most of them are self-confessed Samboy Lim fan themselves. Among them are Vergel Meneses, Paul Alvarez, James Yap, Danny Ildefonso, Mark Cardona and many others. Vergel Meneses "The Aerial Voyager" learned some nifty moves from Samboy that he applied to his slashing game. Paul Alvarez even mentioned in an interview that during his teenage years he runs home to watch the games of the Skywalker in the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. Samboy was even the great coach Big J Robert Jaworski's favorite player to field in international games or in All-Star exhibitions. In the 1990 All-Star Game, Samboy played most of the entire game under coach Jaworski. The only time the Skywalker got a breather was when the Big J entered the game substituting him.
  • In an Asian Journal, an author from China went to the Philippines to get a perspective of the Basketball Scene. After the visit, the author wrote that Samboy Lim is the Michael Jordan of the PBA. It was also mentioned in an article that Ron Jacobs, the famous coach of NCC/San Miguel in the International Arena, sent Samboy to the States for an operation. Ron Jacobs said to the doctor, "Please fix Samboy. He is my Michael Jordan." Even PBA commentator Joe Cantada addressed in the 1990 All-Star game that Samboy is the Michael Jordan of Philippine Basketball.
  • The heart and competitiveness of the Dragon Skywalker Avelino "Samboy" Lim was evident especially on international competitions. In 1985, the Philippine Team competed in the World Club Basketball Championship in Girona, Spain. The Philippine team, wearing the San Miguel jersey, were loved by the European audiences due to the fact they were the smallest team competing on the tournament which included the national teams of Yugoslavia and Italy (Dražen Petrović that time was guarding Hector Calma). He led the team with his patented open court and acrobatic shots scoring his 37 points performance against Banco di Roma of Italy. Because of the intensity and competitiveness, during the game Samboy suffered extreme exhaustion and fatigue. After the game, he had to be carried out in a stretcher with an oxygen tank. His dedication and courage made him an instant folk hero. Then it happened again in their game against the US Team in the 1985 William Jones Cup where they won the game and became champions.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2014-09-26.
  2. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2014-12-05.
  3. ^ Badua, Snow. "PBA great Samboy Lim rushed unconscious to hospital after collapsing in Legends game". Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  4. ^ Locsin, Joel. "'Skywalker' Samboy Lim out of ICU". GMA News. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  5. ^ Pamintuan, Carlo. "Now out of coma, Samboy Lim continues to recover at home". Yahoo! Philippines Sports. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  6. ^ Tenorio Jr., Bum D. "The face of integrity: Atty. Darlene Berberabe". Philippine Star. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  7. ^ Quiteles, Rodneil. "Samboy's Ex-wife: We want Skywalker to be back". Rappler. Retrieved 21 December 2014.

External links[edit]