Few Cebuanos possess the combination of humility, riches, stature, and longevity as the Gullas brothers, Eduardo and Jose “Dodong.”
One such successor is Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas, the son of Didi and grandson of Rep. Eddie.
For the past three years, he’s been the team manager of the family-owned University of the Visayas basketball teams. His UV collegiate squad? Shocking to many, they lost. It was the second straight year that the 9-time CESAFI champions were defeated. The start of the end of the UV dynasty? Not so fast. Because in the high school division, the Baby Lancers emerged victorious, besting Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu in their Game 5 clash last Wednesday, 85-82.
Of that come-from-behind win, Samsam said: “I have to admit, when Sing hit three 3 pointers to end the 3rd quarter to make the Ateneo lead at 10, I wanted to get out of the coliseum. That is why I’m so proud of my boys. They persevered and truly showed what a Visayanian is all about. We fight when the odds are greatest, and when their team manager started to quit, the Baby Lancers didn’t. When I thought it was all over, they showed poise. Truly one of the best feelings in the world. It also helps that this is the first high school championship under my watch.”
UV was not expected to win the gold. Ateneo and CEC were the favorites. “We came in as the underdogs which makes this championship sweeter,” said Samsam. “Just like my Papa Eddie, I always root for the underdog. So to see the Baby Lancers overcome all the odds, makes this the best championship I’ve been a part of, including the college level.”
As to his UV college team, who was criticized when, in their last game against SWU, the players resorted to dirty tactics, Samsam exhibits the trademark Gullas humility: “For the record, I am not proud of what they did. It was uncalled for and it is not the morals, values and principles we teach our students at UV. The game against SWU must be the lowest point since I took over as team manager; that is why we suspended our players and in behalf of the university we are very sorry to everyone. As happy as I am for the success for our high school team, this cannot overshadow what happened. That is how much we regret what happened.”
Basketball dribbles like the heartbeat of the 26-year-old Gullas. He plays almost daily, practicing with his varsity teams (“pugong sa edad,” he says). He counts on James Yap and Mark Caquiao as his PBA idols. NBA? Kobe B.
But they pale in comparison to his true idol, the man we simply call “Eddiegul.”
“I’ve been with Papa Eddie since I was three months old,” he said. “Ever since, I have been living with the best role model I could hope for. But as much as I try to be like him, that’s impossible. Papa Eddie is the most amazing and remarkable guy I know; he’s incomparable. He’s the type of guy that comes every 1000 years. Even with all he has accomplished, he still is the most humble guy I know. That’s one in a million nowadays. He’s my idol, my mentor, my life, my inspiration, my grandfather and my everything all rolled into one.”
Does his grandpa teach him basketball tips? “Papa Eddie is old school. He hates the isolation and one-on-one plays that NBA and PBA teams run today. So every time ‘mag binuhaya ko,’ he always tells me, ‘The ring is not your teammate Sam, why do you keep on passing to him?’ Papa Eddie always calls me a ‘points guard,’ not a point guard. So if ever there’s something he tells me to do more often, it’s pass the ball. Haha.”
As to UV college and their quest to reclaim from UC the trophy? “It’s all about recruitment, recruitment, recruitment,” he said. They need to tap more contacts in Mindanao and Luzon. “The good thing is, after everything that has happened this year, the UV administration has given their full support. I believe we will have a good year coming. Let me correct that, I know we have a good year ahead of us!”
Finally, with my last query… Samsam’s reply: “Pacquiao in less than 3 rounds.”