IT was a dream becoming a reality for actor Xian Lim when he saw action for Mandaluyong El Tigre in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Datu Cup on Thursday.
The Kapamilya actor had six points and six rebounds when he played for El Tigre in the latter stage of the game when the win was already in the bag.
Mandaluyong trounced Pasig, 98-55, in the match held at the Blue Eagle Gym.
Lim, who will turn 29 next week, said it was a fulfillment of a dream, years after he stepped foot in the Philippines to play basketball for University of the East.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Lim. “Eto ‘yung dahilan kung bakit ako pumunta from States to the Philippines, to play basketball for UE along with (JR) Alabanza. Nakakatuwa na nag-reconnect kami.”
Lim said his first game in the MPBL was in no way easy as he saw first-hand a different level of competition playing with and against players he only watched on television.
“Siyempre mahirap. Etong mga ‘to, rinerespect ko ‘tong mga ‘to. Napapanood ko lang sila sa TV,” said Lim.
Lim said he is starting to get into game shape as he is religiously attending practices for the El Tigre.
“Unti-unti na po. Araw-araw, nagpa-practice ako. Pinapagalitan nga ako ni coach Mac to become a better player,” said Lim.
Mandaluyong coach Mac Cuan lauded Lim in his effort to get into shape and attend practices despite his hectic showbiz schedule.
“In fairness to him, he has been really practicing well. That’s why nagkaroon din ako ng kumpiyansa na gamitin siya. He is a tough kid. You can see, he doesn’t back down. I like players like that,” said Cuan.
Lim said he still has a lot of work to do in order to get into his best shape possible for the MPBL games.
“Siyempre napakarami ko pa pong kailangan kainin na bigas. Napakalaking pasalamat ko siyempre sa mga teammates ko dahil matiyaga sila sa akin lalo na si coach Mac,” said Lim.
Lim also said he is able to balance his schedule, juggling his basketball with his showbiz career.
“Iba ang disiplina ng player. Kapag sinabing 7 ‘o clock ang practice, hindi puwedeng 9 ‘o clock dumating,” said Lim.
Lim admitted he has also spoken to fellow actor Gerald Anderson about playing against each other in the MPBL. Anderson is currently playing for the Marikina Shoemasters. But Lim admitted it will be difficult for the two to get playing time with their respective teams when they face each other.
“Pinag-uusapan namin noong isang araw. Sabi ko, ‘Bro, kailan tayo maglalaro, wala pa tayong schedule.’ Pero pareho kaming nangangamba dahil all the players we are playing with, napakagaling. Me and Gerald to get playing time, si Gerald he is a really good basketball player pero for me and him to get playing time, nilalakasan na lang namin ‘yung dasal namin kay Lord,” said Lim with a smile.
Still, Lim is grateful to the MPBL for making his dream a reality.
“Napaka-gandang opportunity ang MPBL especially for everyone, all the Filipinos who want to play basketball and given a chance to play,” said Lim.