THE entire Philippine Basketball Association is mourning the passing of Blackwater Elite forward Gilbert Bulawan, who died Sunday night.
In a shocking news that caught the league by surprise, Bulawan collapsed during the Elite’s early evening practice Sunday and eventually passed away just minutes after that.
The 29-year-old player out of San Sebastian College was immediately rushed to the nearby Capitol Medical (hospital) but was pronounced dead on arrival.
The PBA, through Commissioner Chito Narvasa, released a statement regarding the unfortunate death of Bulawan.
“We are very saddened to hear the passing of one of our beloved players and a member of our PBA family, Gilbert Bulawan,” said Narvasa in his statement. “On behalf of the PBA, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and I would like to request everyone to pray for his eternal and peaceful rest.”
The league also stated that it will provide financial assistance to Bulawan’s family.
Like Narvasa, Bulawan’s fellow players immediately expressed sadness over his passing through their Twitter accounts.
“Heart of heavy hearing the news of Gilbert Bulawan. Prayers go out to his family and loved ones. #RIP,” said National team member Gabe Norwood.
“Sad news today. Condolences to the family of Gilbert Bulawan. Rest in Peace,” said Jeff Chan, another Smart Gilas Pilipinas member.
“Sad day. Please pray for Gilbert Bulawan’s family. To Gilbert, thank you for always being respectful every time we go against each other. #RIPBulawan,” said Ginebra star Mark Caguioa.
“Prayers for Gilbert Bulawan and his family! RIP,” said LA Tenorio.
“Shocked to hear about Gilbert Bulawan. So young. So soon. Prayers for his family,” said Ginebra assistant coach Richard Del Rosario.
“Thoughts and prayers go out to Gilbert Bulawan and his loved ones. May your soul rest in peace,” said Talk ‘N Text veteran Harvey Carey.
An autopsy is still being performed as of this report to determine what caused Bulawan’s death. Team officials are convinced that it was due to cardiac arrest, something similar to what happened to PBA legend Samboy Lim over a year ago that got him paralyzed.
Bulawan had no known ailment and was said to be one of the fittest players of the team.
According to Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy, Bulawan, taken in the 2011 PBA Draft, collapsed right in front of him in during their practice and was still able to hold on to teammate Reil Cervantes before eventually passing out.
Before being part of Blackwater, Bulawan had previous stints with Meralco and Barako.