WHO is Samboy Lim and why the huge, spontaneous outpouring of love and prayers for his recovery?
To better understand this deluge of prayers for one sportsman never before seen in the history of social networking, you have to know the man. Lim was a shy cage hero who transformed into a dragon once inside the court. He might just be the most graceful artist in PBA history, yet the most grounded.
He played his heart out every game - long before a "creative" national coach started selling the Filipinos' innate fighting heart as if it was a commercial commodity.
Samboy played with reckless abandon and not even the best of defenses could put a stop to his death-defying highwire act. All throughout his injury-riddled basketball career, 'The Skywalker' found ways to score as if his life depended on every basket he scored.
In what could go down as one the best performances by any Filipno cager in international play, Samboy mesmerized the crowd in Gerona, Spain when the San Miguel-Philippines squad, buoyed by his game-high 34 points, defeated the highly-touted Banco Di Roma in the 1985 World Club Championships.
Unknown to many, Samboy played with so much gusto in that game despite a severe asthma attack towards the end. At the buzzer, a pale and exhausted Lim quietly retreated to the dugout to catch his breath.
It was a game where Samboy laid his life for the country!
Then came the heart-stopping highwire moves and acts of sheer bravery on the court in an unforgettable basketball journey - the highlights of which are still a favorite even among today's generation of basketball fans on YouTube.
But what makes Samboy special and relevant to this day as he continues to fight for his life at the ICU of Medical City is his humility and genuine kindness.
All throughout his career he shunned the limelight - to a point of refusing all requests for interviews after each game.
Spectacular play upon spectacular, yet not even once did the public see Samboy celebrating a basket as if he had hit the lotto jackpot, a common sight among lesser players nowadays.
He mostly kept to himself and let his game to do the talking.
Shy as he maybe - Samboy made sure he spent time with those who showed appreciation for who he was as a player. He made sure he stopped for an autograph, posed for a picture or the present-day reincarnation (selfie), or chatted with people he barely knew.
In these valuable moments, Samboy gave a piece of himself to the people - the passionate, the humble, the kind and unassuming superstar of Philippine basketball.
Now we have one more request for the player with the most famous hang time in Philippine basketball: As you have done numerous times in your career, 'Hang in There, Skywalker.'