Lim suffers dad's pain in leaving Red Lions
By Joaquin Henson
MANILA, Philippines - Resigned San Beda Red Lions basketball coach Frankie Lim said yesterday leaving the varsity in the wake of a two-year NCAA ban for engaging San Sebastian volleyball coach Roger Gorayeb in an out-of-league brawl will mean a painful estrangement from his son Melo who is ending his collegiate career this coming season.
“You can’t imagine how this hurts,” said the 52-year-old Lim who has piloted San Beda to four NCAA titles in the last five campaigns. “Melo’s 21 and he’s graduating in October. I won’t be on the bench to see him play out his career. After three years, I’ve given him the chance to start and now, he’s hoping to show what he can do with more playing time. It’s not just a coach’s pain but also a father’s pain.”
Melo is Lim’s second to the youngest child with wife Olen. Their youngest is Tyler, 8.
At the moment, Lim said he’s not sure what to do next after resigning his post at San Beda. “I’m hoping to stay involved with basketball,” said Lim who saw action in 15 seasons in the PBA up to 1996. “In the meantime, I’ll take a long rest from all the stress I’ve experienced and spend quality time with my family. I spoke with Mr. MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) before I tendered my resignation and he understood my situation. I don’t know if going back to the PBA is an option because Aboy (Castro) is doing a great job with Talk ‘N’ Text as team manager and coach Norman (Black) is taking over from coach Chot (Reyes) at the end of the season.”
Lim said the incident with Gorayeb was unfortunate but under the circumstances, he could do no less. “As far as I’m concerned, I did three things – first, I protected my school, second, I protected my player who was subjected to an insulting racial slur and third, I protected myself because I got punched,” said Lim. “I don’t think the ban was justified. It was very unfair. I don’t think the NCAA Management Committee that investigated the incident took into account or gave me credit for averting what could have been a more explosive situation.”
Lim said the incident happened in the San Beda gym after a practice with his team. “I was eating alone in the café behind the gym when one of my players Ola (Adeogun) came to me complaining he was called a monkey by some San Sebastian volleyball players,” he related. “So I talked to the players and told them to leave the gym which they did. I told them to respect our school. I spoke civilly. The security guards led them out. I didn’t want any trouble particularly since they were our guests at San Beda. But their coach (Gorayeb) went back to the gym because he had a game with the women’s team. I don’t know that coach from Adam but he kept cursing. I followed him back into the gym then he turned around and punched me. I have a tape that showed what happened. I didn’t start it. My action was purely reactionary. You know me, I don’t back down from a fight especially if I get punched first. So I hit back.”
Lim said the Management Committee went overboard in meting out penalties. “This was a personal thing,” he said. “Why will you apply rules relevant to a game? It wasn’t like a bench-clearing free-for-all because no game was being played. I can understand a ban for something that is premeditated but this fell on my lap while I was eating alone and you just have to do what you have to do. I felt the penalties were too harsh. If you look at the composition of the Management Committee, you’ll notice the representatives are from St. Benilde, Letran, Jose Rizal, Mapua and Perpetual. In my five years with San Beda, we beat Benilde in nine of 10 games, the only exception was when they won a protest because Sam (Ekwe) wore a different uniform but we won that game on the court by about 30 points. In 12 or 13 games, Letran beat us only once. Jose Rizal beat us thrice in 12 games, Mapua twice in 12 games and Perpetual none in 10 games. Did they judge on the basis of if you can’t beat them, ban them?”
Lim said the decision was regressive and smacked of crab mentality. “I was told the Management Committee doesn’t like me but do they really know me?” he continued. “Was I singled out because I’ve built a winning program at San Beda? The decision by the Policy Board to ban foreigners is also regressive and discriminatory. How would you like it if the US NCAA banned Filipinos or Fil-Ams from playing in the league? Instead of teams trying to be competitive, they pull you down. We had a sweep in 2010 and lost only twice last season so maybe, they want to even things up.”
Lim said he will cherish every moment of his five years as San Beda coach. “First, I wish to thank Mr. MVP for the opportunity, second, my school for allowing me the chance to give back, third, to the San Beda community for the support, love and encouragement and of course, my wife Olen and my family,” he said. “My heartfelt thanks to the San Beda boosters. I leave with the satisfaction of having made the San Beda community happy and proud of our achievements.”