Late Gilbert Bulawan to thank for Arellano’s 6’5” rising star

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 01, 2016 08:48 PM
Late Gilbert Bulawan to thank for Arellano’s 6’5 rising star
LEGACY. Aaron Fermin (gray jersey #18) is proving the late Gilbert Bulawan's recommendation correct.

Gilbert Bulawan has moved on, but he has left his good friend Tylon Darjuan something big to remember him by.

The five-year PBA veteran, who passed away last July due to a heart problem, lives on for Darjuan and his Arellano High School in the form of rookie Aaron Fermin.

Fermin, a 16-year-old who will still grow from his already six-foot-five frame, was recommended to Coach Darjuan and his Braves by Bulawan.

Fermin’s mentor back in his hometown Nueva Ecija was an old friend of Bulawan. Continuing the sequence, Bulawan last played for the Blackwater Elite where Darjuan also moonlights as an assistant coach.

According to Darjuan, the late 29-year-old talked to him about a young talent he could bring over to Arellano two years ago. That young talent turned out to be Fermin who wowed Darjuan enough after one mini-workout.

Personally won over while also having his good friend Bulawan’s recommendation, the Braves’ mentor went on a recruiting trip to Licab, Nueva Ecija – a fourth-class municipality. “Pinuntahan na namin sa kanila para makausap na rin namin mga magulang,” he shared.

Darjuan and his staff arrived at the Fermins’ home at 11 in the evening. Despite the ungodly hour, it didn’t take much convincing for them to see Arellano as a golden opportunity.

As Aaron put it, “Siguro po, dahil na rin sa hirap ng buhay namin. Malaking tulong na rin po sa pamilya ko yung pag-aaral ko.”

And so the youngster took his talents to Legarda and served a one-year residency before arriving onto the scene now in the 92nd Season of the NCAA Juniors Basketball Tournament. On Monday, he turned in his best game thus far – up against seven-time champion San Beda High School, nonetheless.

Fermin towered above all, even against the likes of Sam Abu Hijleh and Germy Mahinay, and picked off 11 points, 13 rebounds, and seven blocks. It was also his block on Abu Hijleh in the last 30 seconds that cemented the Braves’ breakthrough agains the Red Cubs.

Without a doubt, even just early on in his young career, Arellano’s rising star is already making the most of his golden opportunity. Talking about how far he would go to reach his basketball dreams, he expressed, “Siyempre po, PBA ang pangarap. Kaya po nagtiyatiyaga ako rito kahit malayo sa pamilya.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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