AS Allan Caidic and the San Miguel Beermen basked in the glory of their victory over Alaska in the ‘Return of Rivals’ Sunday, one person and his aerial moves were really badly missed.
Nowhere to be found was the great Avelino "Samboy" Lim, who was a huge part of the SMB franchise's championship success in the mid-80s to the 90s.
And if only he was healthy and good enough, Caidic knows Lim would be the first to volunteer in donning the Beermen jersey for the special benefit games held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Naku kung andiyan si Samboy definitely he’s part of the San Miguel team,” said Caidic of his close friend and fellow cage legend.
“It’s too bad wala siya.”
Lim, 56, has been bed-ridden for almost five years now after collapsing during a PBA Legends game at the Ynares Center in Pasig. His health has improved through the years but continues to receive treatment and therapy at home.
There’s no doubt however, that the high-flying former Letran stalwart served as one of the faces of San Miguel when it was winning one championship after the other more than two decades ago including the 1989 grandslam.
His above-the-rim plays and gravity-defying acts deservingly earned him the moniker ‘The Skywalker’ and endeared him to Filipino basketball fans.
Caidic, who has been in constant touch with his bosom buddy, said Lim was aware of the special doubleheader pitting rivals Ginebra and Purefoods, along with Alaska and San Miguel.
“Alam niya ito. Nasabi namin ito sa kanya na may event na ganito for the foundation,” said the 1990 MVP.
Caidic said Lim could be one of the beneficiaries of the project which the Dating Propesyonal na Basketbolista ng Pilipinas Foundation Inc. organized in partnership with UNTV.
But he added there are a lot more which the group intends to help other than Lim.
“Marami namang tutulungan talaga na players,” said Caidic, who stressed the foundation already helped some former colleagues who have died or are undergoing hospital treatment.
While the group is reaching to players who are in need, Caidic made it clear everything will be on a case-to-case basis.
“May sinusunod din naman tayong guidelines. Hindi naman puwedeng sa isang player lang or what,” he said.
The ‘Return of Rivals’ earned P3 million as donated by partner UNTV, which has been supporting the foundation right from its very first benefit project – a golf tournament – last year.
“Mas malaki ang ginawang parte ng UNTV kasi napakalaki ng magnitude nito,” he said. “Kaya hindi namin akalain na magiging ganito ka-successful. Kaya natutuwa kami.”
And for sure, ‘The Skywalker, too.