Last January, the world mourned the tragic and unforeseen death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, together with his daughter Gianna and seven other people aboard the helicopter that crashed while they were on their way to his Mamba Sports Academy in California.
As a nation known for being passionate about the game and being ardent fans of the basketball superstar, we Filipinos, of course, were among those who were greatly affected by the devastating news. Thus, some of us did various things to pay tribute to one of the personalities we’ve hailed as our modern-day heroes due to the inspiration he had brought, such as visual artist Jerson “Jerry” Gabo, who led the creation of the gigantic mural of his ultimate idol Kobe and Gianna in a tenement in Taguig City that went viral for weeks.
And in the episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya aired last February 29 titled “Mural”, it was his inspiring journey that was imparted to the world.
Well-written, rousing narrative
The tandem of director Barry Gonzalez and writer Dickson Comia, of course, with the great contribution of researcher Chin Quezon, indeed did a great job in helming the totally rousing and relatable narrative.
The episode commenced by showing how Jerry’s love for basketball developed in his childhood as he aspired to be a player someday. However, because of an injury he acquired in one of his games and being vertically-challenged, forwent that dream and decided to pursue his other passion – visual arts.
While his childhood went pretty well, life started to challenge him when he became an adult. His relationship with Sheryl (Gelli de Belen) was strongly objected by her father (Johnny Revilla) as he belittled him for having only finished high school and no regular source of income. But they still fought for their love and got married even without her parents’ blessings and moved to Iloilo to build their own family.
Just when we thought that their marriage would sail smoothly, Jerry got involved in an illicit affair with Jessica (Sunshine Garcia), a woman he met in one of his night-outs with his friends. He tried to hide it from his wife, but she eventually caught him and left their house along with their kids.
Adding up to the problems he had to face was the frustrated homicide filed against him by a relative after he almost killed him in an altercation.
Yearning to be with his family again and fearing the possible outcome of his case, he turned to arts in order to cope. With the help of a friend, he established the Palawan Visual Artist Workshop that catered to the people in their community, particularly to the youth who are interested to hone their skills in the said craft. According to him, he got inspired by Kobe when the icon put up his Mamba Sports Academy. He then got invited to an arts festival in Malaysia in 2018.
In the end, the circumstances favored to him as he got reunited with his estranged family again after Sheryl allowed their kids to see him and he got acquitted from the case filed against him.
Not long after, another terrible event struck Jerry as his ultimate idol Kobe Bryant was reported to be dead. Thus, as his way of paying homage to the basketball superstar, he and 11 fellow artists united to paint the enormous mural of Kobe and Gianna on the floor of their tenement’s basketball court.
More than the recognition he garnered from people all over the world, it’s his family’s affirmation of how proud they are of him that was the sweetest.
Beyond impressive portrayal of the cast
The main and supporting ensemble did a great job in playing their respective roles.
Sid Lucero once again proved how a brilliant actor he is as he was able to move the viewers with his portrayal of the letter sender Jerry. His chemistry with Gelli de Belen, who was acclaimed for her amazing performance as the wife Sheryl, was also unmistakable.
Sunshine Garcia was also effective in taking on the role of the mistress Jessica as she succeeded in piquing the viewers, as well as veteran actor Johnny Revilla in his role as Sheryl’s strict and domineering father.
Of course, the other cast members, comprised of Tanya Gomez, Ryle Santiago, Rommel Velasquez, Marco Masa, Xymon Pineda, Brace Arquiza, Melizza Jimenez, Jessica Marco, and Criza Taa, all did great in the respective characters bestowed to them.