Taulava hitting top form in time for playoffs
Asi Taulava scores 18 points to help the Beermen win 78-70 over the Thailand Slammers to stretch their win streak to 11 and improve their win-loss record to 14-3. Jerome Ascano

DEFYING Father Time, Asi Taulava has more than doubled his offensive production over the last two months and vowed not to let up as the Asean Basketball League playoffs approach.

The 40-year-old has shown renewed vigor by raising his average to 16.2 points in five games in April - a big jump from his 9.4-point average in February and an atrocious 6.4 average in March.

The recent string of fine performances includes a double-double performance of 15 points and 10 rebounds against Singapore and a monster 26-point game against Malaysia.

Taulava scored 18 as the Beermen won 78-70 over the Rev Thailand Slammers on Wednesday in Bangkok to stretch their win streak to 11 and improve their win-loss record to 14-3. That enabled them to keep the gap from second-running Indonesia Warriors, who defeated the Saigon Heat 77-63 in Vietnam and now hold a 13-4 mark.

But the veteran center said they are not dropping their guard as the playoffs near.

“We aren’t satisfied yet and we are still hungry. We want to get as many wins as possible. We are looking for a 12th straight win and we are going to get it this Saturday,” said Taulava.

They will still be without leading scorer Chris Banchero, out for two to three weeks due to a tendon tear on his left quadriceps, when they take on the Saigon Heat at the Ynares Sports Arena on Saturday, but Taulava is confident the Beermen’s other backcourt men can fill the gap.

“It’s definitely hard without Chris around but we have been preparing by giving players like Paolo (Hubalde) and Jeric (Fortuna) more exposure. By the time Chris comes back for the playoffs, we will have a better mix,” Taulava said.

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