Former La Salle and PBA great Lim Eng Beng dies

MANILA, Philippines – Former De La Salle University (DLSU) and Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) great Lim Eng Beng passed away after nearly 3 years of fighting liver cancer on Monday morning, December 21. He was 64 years old.

News of Beng’s passing was mentioned by a handful of La Salle alumni on Monday, and was tweeted by The La Sallian - the university’s official student publication.

SPORTS: Former Green Archer Lim Eng Beng passed away earlier this morning after a long bout with liver cancer. — The LaSallian (@TheLaSallian) December 21, 2015

One of the greatest to ever play the game, Beng holds multiple NCAA records, including the single-game scoring record of 55 points. Upon arriving in La Salle in 1971, Beng immediately led the Green Archers to an NCAA title - their first in 15 years, per The Lasallian.

Despite getting offers to play in the PBA as early as his junior season in 1973, Beng elected to play 4 total years with La Salle. In 1974, he averaged 32 points per game, won the NCAA MVP, Sportsmanship Award, Most Popular Player, was a Mythical 5 selection, and led the Green Archers to a title. (READ: Glory Days)

After his La Salle career, Beng’s number 14 jersey was retired by the university and currently hangs in the rafters of the Green Archers Gym in Taft Avenue, Manila.

Rest in His peace PBA Legend Lim Eng Beng... Our deepest condolences to his family and love ones. — PBA (@pbaconnect) December 21, 2015

In the PBA, Beng also attained a multitude of accomplishments. He was a Mythical Five member in 1975 and 1978, won the Sportsmanship Award in 1980, eclipsed the 5,000-point mark in 1982, won a championship in 1978 and 1980, and was named to both the league’s 25 Greatest Players list in 2000 and 40 Greatest Players list in 2015.

Beng was eventually inducted into La Salle’s Hall of Fame in 1998 and the PBA Hall of Fame in 2013.

The basketball great was diagnosed with Stage 3 liver cancer in January 2013, and said he was given 3 years to live.

Just last year, Beng spoke to Rappler for a feature about the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry about his time as a Green Archer:

I never took advantage of La Salle, all I asked for was a scholarship. And I gave La Salle everything they wanted – championships, whatever. I gave them two championships, two 3rd places. Which is not a very bad record for La Salle,” Beng said while being filmed for the feature.

“In 1973, before the ‘74 season, I was offered by Crispa (then a PBA team) a house and lot in exchange for leaving La Salle. It was in Quezon City, in Apple Street. And I loved La Salle so much, I turned down the house and lot,” Beng also said, re-calling the temptation of not finishing his collegiate career and leaving for the PBA earlier.

“Not only that, as season 1974 went on, the championship game was between La Salle-Ateneo. A syndicate offered me a house and a lot to throw the game. And I still turned down the house and lot. I gave La Salle a championship.”

During the interview, Beng was still headstrong in his fight with cancer, saying he wasn’t going to give up easily.

“Now I have to fight up to the last seconds of my life. I will not go down without a fight.” –