Asi Taulava happy to have put ‘Fil-Sham’ issue behind him
MANILA, Philippines — Asi Taulava’s PBA career, which has spanned 20 seasons, was nearly cut short after he was involved in the “Fil-Sham” controversy, which several Fil-foreigners in the league faced in the early 2000s.
Twenty years later, the topic still brings back painful memories for the Fil-Tongan center.
“It was tough times, and I was in the middle of all that,” said Taulava in the 2OT podcast.
“Sometimes, just thinking about it and going back to it just brings a lot of pain. I went through it for a while.”
In the heat of the issue, Taulava was deported in 2000 before successfully fighting for his reinstatement the following year.
But the ordeal didn’t end there as the controversy reappeared in 2004 after the Department of Justice reportedly found irregularities with the documents submitted by Taulava and several other Fil-foreign players, which resulted in an indefinite suspension in the PBA.
“It was tough times, very challenging. [I] remember talking to my wife, asking if this was really worth it?”
Taulava was evntually allowed by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to return to the PBA.
“I’m just happy that I was given the green light by the DOJ, they got my clearance and everything,” said the 47-year-old Taulava.
“But I had to fight for my rights. I’m glad I did because I have kids now. My daughters, they have to fight for what they believe in, you know, for what’s theirs. I’ve gotten past it.”