Long break rejuvenates Asi Taulava
MANILA, Philippines — Whether or not he hangs up his sneakers after playing one more conference, Asi Taulava is leaving that decision up to his head coach Yeng Guiao.
“It’s whatever coach Yeng wants. Coach Yeng, at the end of the day, it’s his team,” Taulava said in the 2OT podcast last Sunday. “He makes the decisions, I can wish to say I’m gonna play five more years, three five years, but it’s what the man knows, what the man needs for his team.”
“I just gotta plug those holes. I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve enjoyed the ride, I’m not gonna lie to you whatever coach Yeng needs I’m there.”
Taulava had originally planned to retire at the end of the 2020 Philippine Cup.
But that was before the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the PBA to suspend its 45th season indefinitely on March 11.
“With this break we had, this long four or five months straight, I gave my body a chance to rest. I feel fresh again, ready to get back to the gym and start working again, but you know it’s baby steps now,” he said. “Now, we have to figure out a way how to beat this virus and not to spread it anymore but you know the best thing for me right now at my age is to stay in shape, stay active and keep working out and have a goal you know.”
Despite the season getting sidetracked, Taulava, the oldest player in the league at 47, remains focused on reaching his goals.
“I guess the biggest goal for me right now is to be the first player to play four decades and that’s my motivation and my drive now with all my workouts,” said Taulava, who was a direct hire by Talk ’N Text in 1999.
Taulava’s retirement may be put on hold for now, but he’s certainly not far from it.
And for the Fil-Tongan big man, who is entering his 21st season in the PBA, there’s no better timing to walk away than by doing it on a winning note.
“That’s gonna be the best feeling (winning a championship with NLEX). That’s one I would cherish, how good my bosses have been to me, boss Rod, boss Ronald, all the bosses, boss Chris, coach Yeng. All these guys that’s just been taking care of me since the latter part of my career.”