WATCH: Life story and highlights of Avelino ‘Samboy’ Lim
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.
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 released 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.
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