PBA: Manny Pacquiao used to train with Asi Taulava for P200
Paul Kennedy Lintag on May 19, 2020 03:01 PM
It turns out, Manny Pacquiao and Asi Taulava go way back.
Asi Taulava has been in Philippine basketball for a long time.
When the PBA resumes after the current COVID-19 pandemic, Taulava would be the first PBA player to play in the league in four different decades.
Taulava's first exposure to Philippine basketball came in the late 1990s, when he was tapped to play for Blu Detergent in the PBL Vis-Min Cup.
Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy recalled the time Asi was first recruited to play in Manila.
"Asi was introduced to me by Willy Wilson, not the Willy Wilson we have here in Manila ah, he's a 6'3" point guard that I had. He said, 'Boss you need a big man, there's one guy from Hawaii, Asi Taulava,'" Sy recalled during a webinar hosted by Ariel Vanguardia for Hoops Coaches International.
"I said, what's his job there? He said he was a bouncer from a club. True enough, he [Asi] was in a beach," the Elite team owner added.
Boss Dioceldo, following his former player's recommendation, tried to convince Taulava to play in Manila.
After some negotiation, Asi ended up coming over to play in the PBL.
"He said how much will you pay me? I said $1,000 a week, so $2,000," Sy said of Asi.
"He [Asi] said make it $3,000 I'll go there. That's how it started," Sy added.
Once he was in the Philippines, Taulava actually ended up training with Manny Pacquiao, the future eight-division boxing world champion.
Sy had a hand in linking the two up to help Asi get into basketball shape.
The Blackwater boss revealed that he would pay Pacquiao P200 for the three hours of training and he would pick up Manny from his gym near the UST area in Sampaloc, Manila.
"Asi was playing for my team and he was going out almost every night for fun. One day I catch him sleeping when I was picking him up, so I said to my business partner, I think we need to have somebody to condition Asi," Sy said.
"He said I have this guy Pacquiao, my boxer. Pacquiao was a nobody then, so I said okay, get him to run Asi for MWF, 6-9 in the morning. That's how we started with Manny running with Asi. He [Pacquiao] was running around PICC. He ran maybe 10-15 laps, Asi was doing half. That was 1997," the Elite owner added.
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