Blackwater coach on 'Mr Energy' Gilbert Bulawan: 'S'ya pinakamalakas sa team'
Blackwater big man Gilbert Bulawan died at the age of 29. PBA Images

BLACKWATER is going to badly miss Gilbert Bulawan, who is considered the team’s ‘Mr. Energy.’

Assistant coach Pat Aquino said the two-year-old PBA franchise was left devastated by the untimely death of the former San Sebastian stalwart after he collapsed in practice on Sunday.

“We’ll miss him so much, kasi siya yung energy guy namin,” said Aquino, who is head coach of the Perlas Pilipinas national squad. “Sa team siya ang pinaka-malakas sa amin, kaya lahat nagulat sa nangyari.”

[See Shock, grief after Gilbert Bulawan dies in Blackwater practice]

Aquino recalled the Elite were about to end their practice when the unfortunate incident occurred.

He said shortly before collapsing on the court, Bulawan, who he said was the best-conditioned player in the team, still managed to hug teammate Riel Cervantes.

“Yumakap pa siya kay Riel. Akala nga niya nagloloko lang,” said Aquino of Bulawan’s final moments. “Then akala nahihilo siya. Tapos nahihirapan na ngang huminga before he collapsed.”

The team tried to revive the 29-year-old big man, before immediately rushing him to the nearby Capitol Medical Center, where he later on passed away. He would have turned 30 on August 25.

“As far as we know, wala naman siyang complaint about his health, kasi nga si Gilbert yung pinaka-malakas na player namin.”

[See Calvin Abueva left stunned by death of college teammate Bulawan]

Bulawan told Cervantes shortly before practice that he’ll be the one to take on import Eric Dawson, who just arrived in the country on Saturday night for the PBA Governors Cup.

The arrival of Dawson and Asian import Imad Qahwash of Palestine finally completed the Elite in practice for the first time that team owner Dioceldo Sy, board of governor Siliman Sy, and the rest of the Blackwater executives showed up in practice to see the team play.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

“He (Bulawan) was lively, he was happy,” said Aquino of Bulawan before Blackwater conducted its afternoon practice. “Sabi niya kay Riel, ako ang babantay sa import, a.”

Just as he promised, Bulawan did well in what turned out to be his final stint with the team.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos