Thanks to the late Gilbert Bulawan, Arellano gets hands on promising big man Fermin
The Arellano Braves got its hands on promising big man Aaron Fermin, thanks to the lead given by the late Gilbert Bulawan. Photo from Arellano University Sports official Facebook page

IN so short a time, a young Aaron Fermin has become one of the key players for Arellano's juniuor team, which is off to a perfect start in the NCAA Season 92 juniors basketball.

But unknown to many, Fermin won't be with the Braves without the intervention of the late Gilbert Bulawan.

Bulawan recently passed away due to a heart condition, but his memories will remain with Arellano head coach Tylon Darjuan, who revealed it was the former Blackwater player who recommended the 6-foot-5 Fermin to the team.

“Binigay niya (Bulawan) sa akin, na may kilala siya taga-Nueva Ecija. Ayun, pinuntahan naman namin,” said Darjuan of the fateful trip to the remote town of Licab, Nueva Ecija where Fermin lived.

“Galing ‘yun sa liblib na lugar. Six hours ang biyahe,” recalled Darjuan.

[See Arellano Braves outlast champs Red Lions to stay unbeaten in NCAA juniors]

The long trip to Licab, it turned out, was worth it. After spending a year in residency, Fermin finally broke into the Braves lineup where he averaged 11 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks entering their match against San Beda on Monday.

Against the Red Cubs, Fermin continued to impress with 11 points, 13 rebounds, and seven blocks. With the Braves leading by two, 92-90, late in the game, Fermin swatted away a potential game-tying basket by Sam Abu Hijle to clinch the victory.

“Anak nga ata ng engkanto eh,” joked Darjuan.

Turning serious, Darjuan said he will always be grateful for the help of the late San Sebastian star and Blackwater big man which he calls a parting gift.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph