Skywalker’s crusade continues
THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) - April 24, 2017 - 12:00am

Samboy Lim may be unable to continue spreading his love for the game of basketball at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped an experienced group of his coaches from taking up the cause in his name, at least figuratively. Since the Skywalker has been grounded by a stroke, a devoted group of his disciples, led by his brother Bon, has taken on the crusade to keep on developing the next generation of basketball players. And for Bon, it is a deeply personal advocacy.

“Being the youngest, I was still in our mother’s womb when our father died suddenly,” explains Bon, now 41. “Kuya (Samboy) was only 13, and he became not only a big brother to me, but also a father figure. That’s why I never experienced any of the sibling rivalry or felt bad when people compared us, because I really looked up to him.”

Bon is chiefly in charge of the care of Samboy, who was felled by a stroke towards the end of 2014. Bon was Samboy’s constant companion growing up, the kid brother who tagged along and saw Samboy’s legendary work ethic firsthand. If practice were at 2 p.m., Samboy and Bon would be at the track at noon. After an hour, Samboy would practice his one-on-one moves. After practice, he would spend two hours working out. He spent more time working on his game than anyone else. This inspired the young Bon to likewise become a basketball player. And like his brother, the younger Lim won back-to-back NCAA titles with Letran and future pros Kerby Raymundo, Gilbert Malabanan and De La Salle head coach Aldin Ayo.

In continuing his brother’s work, Bon also realized there were some things he needed to change out of respect for Samboy’s values. Out of deference to Samboy, the group changed the name of their program to Weekend Basketball Camp (WBC). They did not want people to think that they were capitalizing on Samboy’s name. Lessons are still held at the Dumlao Sports Center on Shaw Boulevard every weekend year-round. Beginner’s classes are on Saturdays, and advanced classes on Sundays.

“Today’s generation is really hung up on their smart phones and mobile devices,” says a visibly bothered coach Bon. “They never experienced the childhood street games that we did, like holen (marbles), trumpo (top), sipa and the like. Less and less kids are playing sports, and so many are ruining their eyesight by spending so many hours on their gadgets.”

The younger Lim cannot help but wax emotional about how his brother inspired him and so many people. Success never changed Samboy, Bon proudly confirmed. Samboy was the same respectful, patient, nurturing person despite his fame and status as one of the greatest basketball players in the country. What amazed Bon the most was Samboy’s uncanny ability to break down an opponent, whether he be an offensive or defensive match-up. Samboy was always thinking three, four, five steps ahead, and planned accordingly. The most important lesson he taught Bon was that, when you have the ball, nobody can stop you. Never drive to the basket half-hearted. And there were other lessons that were ahead of his time.

“Some of the things they’re only teaching now, my brother was already teaching 20 years ago,” Bon says proudly. “The moves that NBA players do regularly now like switching hands in mid-air, the one-dribble take-off, he was already doing those when I was a kid.”

Despite what happened to Samboy, Bon has had renewed faith in a divine plan. He said there were two miracles that Samboy is living proof of. First, Samboy’s heart was so strong, he lived through an ordeal that would have killed ordinary people, 26 minutes without oxygen to his brain. The second miracle was his waking up from the coma that doctors said he would never recover from. On April 1, Samboy celebrated his birthday with his family, getting out of his bed and getting out for the first time in a long while.

“My brother’s goal is really developmental,” Bon says. “He loved to teach, and he shared his passion and values with young people. He always told them that there was a right way to play the game. Play all out, play by the rules, don’t hurt anybody. That is why we want to continue his mission, and with God’s grace, we hope to keep continuing his legacy.”

You can never keep a good man down, especially if he was born to fly.

Those interested to enroll their children in the Weekend Basketball Camp (formerly Skywalker Basketball Camp) may contact the following: for beginners, Ms. Ana or coach Carl through 0916-6989489; for advanced classes, coach Bon through 0917-5436491.

SAMBOY LIM
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