Taulava makes changes to adapt to NLEX’s style of play
BOCAUE — Asi Taulava’s Christmas wish finally came true on Monday.
No, it’s not any gaudy gift or pricey present. The 44-year-old was just relieved to have swished his first 3-pointer this season for NLEX.
“I feel good. I’m glad it finally went in,” Taulava said. “Last game, I missed my lone attempt so I’m happy that this time, it went in.”
Taulava hit a long bomb from the top of the arc at the 8:57 mark of the second quarter.
Also making the shot feel better for Taulava was the Road Warriors’ pulling off the 115-104 victory over the GlobalPort Batang Pier to stay unbeaten in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup.
But the three-point shot is not the only thing that’s new to Taulava’s game. He is also much more active on the floor.
Being the league’s eldest statesman at 44, the Fil-Tongan admits that playing with a quick pace is his way of adapting to NLEX’s style of play especially with him teaming up with speedy guards Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas, players who are hailed as the Road Warriors’ future.
“I got to keep up with Kiefer and Kevin. I can’t let them run me out of the ground. Right now, we’re a much more running team with the young bloods coming in, so I got to be able to run,” he said before heaping much praise to Ravena, who has been nothing but impressive so far. “It’s a new time, a new generation, and you see that Kiefer’s time has landed.”
Also a major part of Taulava’s change is his trimmed down physique. He is at his lightest weight in over a decade.
But the 2003 PBA Most Valuable Player isn’t paying much attention to his conditioning, but rather, is looking at the bigger picture as he seeks to contribute at the best of his capabilities for the Road Warriors.
“I don’t want to talk about my weight or anything. My focus is on my team. Hopefully, these young guys could take us all the way and lead us to the playoffs,” he said.
As for his New Year’s resolution, all Taulava is hoping for is to be able to follow Guiao’s orders and be spared from the vitriol the fiery coach spews when things go awry.
“I don’t want to be that guy to make a crazy play and when I get back to the bench, coach Yeng will curse at me,’ he said laughing.
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