Stellar year: UP summa cum laude Jamie Lim relishes SEA Games gold

Karateka Jamie Lim replicates the SEA Games success her father and PBA legend Samboy Lim enjoyed when he won a gold in the 1983 edition

Delfin Dioquino

Published: 11:38 AM December 10, 2019

Updated: 11:38 AM December 10, 2019

COMEBACK. Jamie Lim marks her return to karatedo with a first SEA Games gold following a four-year hiatus. Photo by Lisa Marie David/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – From academics to sports, Jamie Lim just ruled this year. 

Months after graduating summa cum laude from the University of the Philippines Diliman, the 22-year-old capped her stellar 2019 with her first gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games karatedo competition. 

The daughter of PBA legend Samboy, Lim lorded over the women's +61kg kumite to replicate the same SEA Games success her father enjoyed when he won a gold in men's basketball in the 1983 edition. 

"Summa cum laude for mom, SEA Games gold is for dad," said Lim, hugging her mother Darlene Berberabe after her emotional win. 

"I can't believe that both of them happened this year. 2019 is so perfect for me. I'm just so grateful." 

She added: "I look up to my mom and dad so much. To even come close to him, to be compared to him and mom, it's so big for me."

Although Samboy can no longer watch her compete live, Lim brought with her the lessons she learned from his basketball exploits. 

The PBA all-time great, dubbed “The Skywalker,” suffered cardiac arrest in November 2014. He fell into a coma, and although he woke up, he can no longer move. He also can no longer see or speak, but can hear.

"It's just hard work, and focus, and discipline. Everything that I learned from my parents, I saw it from them," Lim said. 

Those traits proved valuable in her return to the sport after she took a four-year break to focus on her studies as a BS Mathematics major.

Working her way back to lethal form despite only less than a year of preparation, Lim demolished her quaterfinal and semifinal foes before ekeing out a thrilling 2-1 win over Indonesia's Zefanya Ceyco in the finals. 

Ceyco was the favorite to take home the gold following her silver-medal finish in the 2019 Asian Karate Championships, but Lim came through with a stomach hit for the lead she held on until time expired.

"I just believed in myself. I know how to handle the situation. I believed in my techniques. I know I'm made for this – for the moment, for the pressure," Lim said. 

"Karate is always my art. SEA Games in the Philippines, how special is that? The timing is perfect. I got my goal in academics and I think the signs just told me to.

"It's calling me to come back and I just went for it, no matter what happens, and it paid off," she added. 

Future so bright

Berberabe beamed proudly talking about her daughter. 

"I'm the proudest mother. Jaime worked so hard," Berberabe said. "She graduated summa cum laude in June and then set her sights to the SEA Games." 

"Four, five months of hard training, she was crying first two weeks. [She] really worked so hard, so dedicated, so focused." 

Berberabe said she will always be just behind Lim, guiding in the endeavors she pursue, whether that be academics, sports, or both. 

"The future is so bright for her. I believe that with the values that Samboy and I tried to teach her, she'll be able to decide what path she wants to take." 

Lim, meanwhile, wants to soak in the moment first.

"Right now, I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet because for me, I think whatever I choose to do, I'll do it. I have no plans yet. Let's see how it goes. Let it flow." –