PBA: Asi Taulava hints at retirement as he enters 20th season
Philip Matel on Jan 10, 2019 04:41 PM
But, it seems his 20th season in the PBA may be his last, as he said that he is seriously contemplating in hanging up his sneakers for good after the 2019-20 campaign.
It's been a wild ride for 45-year old Asi Taulava.
From being a PBA standout, a direct hire by the then-Mobiline Phone Pals, the Fil-Tongan center has blossomed to being one of the most dominant players in the history of the first pro hoops league in Asia.
But, it seems his 20th season in the PBA may be his last, as he said that he is seriously contemplating hanging his sneakers up for good after the 2019-20 campaign.
"I'm thinking that this may be my last year. I wanted to get to 20 [seasons] and see where it goes from here. Let's see after everything if this will be my final year, if it's meant to be, this may be my final year, my swan song. I just want to enjoy it," the NLEX center shared at the PBA Media Day at the Solaire Resort and Casino.
In his illustrious career, he had won a title with a rookie Jimmy Alapag, won the season MVP, Finals MVP, and the Best Player of the Conference in the 2003 All-Filipino Cup, his only title.
The hulking 6'9 center has also been named to the Mythical Team eight times, four each in the first and the second teams, aside from being a 16-time All-Star and being named the MVP of the exhibition game twice.
In his sabbatical from the PBA, he represented the country in the ABL as member of coach Leo Austria's San Miguel Beermen, where he won the league's MVP plum at age 40, and won his second pro title.
From being a young and spry center, banging bodies with the likes of EJ Feihl and Dennis Espino to becoming one of the elder statesmen of the league, he said that he had seen the style of play change drastically.
"When I first entered the PBA, it was slow, deliberate basketball. Nowadays, guys are getting younger, they're playing Warriors type of basketball," Taulava quipped.
"Before, everybody had to post up. Now, the first three seconds, five seconds, a three will go up. The game has evolved so much. It's been great to be around during my whole career, playing and seeing how much basketball has grown."
As he enters a crossroads in his decorated career as one of the 40 Greatest in the league's history, the slotman says he will just enjoy as he rides into the sunset of professional basketball.
"I've enjoyed this ride. Not too many players. I think only four players in the PBA have lasted for 20 years. I can't believe I got here. Especially with my lifestyle in the past."
Now a mentor to newly-acquired Poy Erram, he hopes to becoming the Road Warriors' rock in the middle and continue to help coach Yeng Guiao's team into contention, a team which made the semifinals in the opening tournament a year ago.
"Seeing him grow. I'm happy for him and everything what he's got right now, he's earned it. He has worked so hard."
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