Philippine basketball

PBA legend Samboy Lim dies at 61

Delfin Dioquino

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PBA legend Samboy Lim dies at 61

SKYWALKER. Samboy Lim in action during one of his basketball camps.

Samboy Lim Facebook page

'Heaven gained an angel just in time for Christmas,' says the family of Samboy Lim, one of the greatest PBA players of all time

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine basketball lost one of its all-time greats as PBA icon Samboy Lim died on Saturday, December 23.

The family of the man known as “The Skywalker” announced his death on his official Facebook page. He was 61.

“Heaven gained an angel just in time for Christmas. We love you Samboy, thank you for loving all of us unconditionally,” the Facebook post stated. “No more pain nor suffering.”

“Goodbye for now. You will be in our hearts forever.”

Lim made a name for himself as one of the most lethal players of his time, dazzling fans with his aerial exploits that earned him his moniker.

After helping the Letran Knights win three straight championships in the NCAA, Lim joined San Miguel in 1986, spending his entire 11-year PBA career with the storied Beermen franchise.

Lim keyed San Miguel to nine PBA titles, including a rare Grand Slam in 1989.

The Beermen retired the No. 9 jersey of Lim, who earned spots in the PBA’s 25 Greatest Players and 40 Greatest Players list.

As a member of the national team, Lim also impacted winning as he became part of Philippine squads that won silver and bronze in the 1990 and 1986 Asian Games, respectively, and a pair of Southeast Asian Games crowns.

He was also a member of the teams that ruled the 1984 Asian Basketball Club Championship and 1985 Asian Basketball Confederation Championship.

Lim kept himself in shape after his playing career and held basketball camps before he unexpectedly collapsed during an exhibition game with his fellow PBA legends in November 2014.

He fell into a coma and woke up two months later in January 2015.

Lim was with his former wife Darlene Berberabe and their daughter, champion karateka Jamie Lim, and other family and friends, including PBA great Allan Caidic, when he died at the hospital.

“A man of faith, exceptional courage, humility, and grace. He embodied the very best of humanity,” the Facebook post stated. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.