TINO Pinat said he never had quite a teammate like Samboy Lim.
Before he wound up with the Northen Consolidated-backed national team in the mid-1980s, Lim teamed up with Pinat at Letran, forming a formidable duo in the NCAA when the Knights won successive titles from 1982 to 1984.
Now the assistant coach of the Westports Malaysia Dragons in the Asean Basketball League, Pinat had nothing but fond memories of Lim, his buddy in college, especially when it comes to the 'Skywalker's' work ethic.
“Lakas ng katawan niya,” said Pinat of Lim. “Grabe magpalakas ng katawan ‘yun. Kaya nakakabalik sa injury.”
Lim is still recovering from a stroke which he suffered prior to an exhibition basketball game more than a year ago despite living a clean, healthy lifestyle even after his playing days.
Still, Pinat remains impressed with how Lim prepared his body during his career.
Lim got the moniker ‘The Skywalker’ for his high-flying moves on the court, but it was his daredevil ways that got him injury-prone during his playing career in the PBA.
Despite the numerous injuries his teammate suffered, Pinat knows that those setbacks never stopped Lim from getting back to his usual style of play.
“Siya yung kung ano 'yung therapy niya, titriplehin niya, Kung ang papagawa sa kanya, 20, gagawin niya 60,” said Pinat, also a former assistant coach with the Knights.
Pinat recalled that in their college days, the high-leaping Lim put it upon himself to learn how to score through contact, which eventually became his trademark in his PBA days.
“Bata pa siya, iniisip na niya na merong hahampas sa kanya. Kaya madalas, foul counted siya. Mas gusto niya ‘yung contact sa ere. Lakas ng katawan niya [kasi],” said Pinat.
And what really impressed Pinat was how Lim learned to play through pain in the PBA, as he wanted to play in every game he could because it would be a disservice to fans if he didn't give his best.
“Grabe tolerance niya sa pain. ‘Yung balikat niya, tig-apat na opera pero grabe kung pumwersa,” Pinat recalled.
“Ayaw niya ‘yung kapag bumalik siya, may masabi na ‘Wala na ‘to,’” he added.