Asi Taulava, 42, feels like a rookie all over again after making Gilas cut for Fiba Asia
Asi Taulava feels like a rookie all over again. Jerome Ascano

THE feeling never grows old for Asi Taulava.

The 42-year-old former PBA MVP said he feels like a rookie all over again after making Gilas Pilipinas' 12-man lineup for the Fiba Asia Championship - something he felt was impossible when he was first named to the pool of Tab Baldwin.

"Unbelievable," the ageless wonder told, moments after receiving the good news that he will man the middle for Gilas along with Sonny Thoss, Ranidel de Ocampo, marc Pingris and naturalized player Andray Blatche. 

"This is a surpsie for me, really. When I was first named to the pool, I thought I'd just spell somebody for a few minutes. So this is the best feeling in the world, the best feeling ever."

[See Meet the Magnificent 12 of Gilas]

By making the Final 12 submitted by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to Fiba Asia organizers, the NLEX center is set to become the oldest member of the country's national basketball team by a mile.

Four-time PBA MVP Mon Fernandez was a little less than 37 when he joined the Philippine team one final time in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing, with teammate turned rival Robert Jaworski the head coach.

Another Gilas member, Dondon Hontiveros, is older than Fernandez was at that time at 38.

Taulava and Hontiveros, however, secured their places with standout performances for Gilas in a second-place finish behind Iran in the Jones Cup last week.

Now Taulava feels like a rookie again ahead of the Fiba Asia championship from September 23 to October 3.

"I feel like it's 2002 (Taulava's rookie year) all over again," he said. "As I told you, I've made several mistakes in the past, not being in shape and taking some things for granted.

"But to be here again is a great blessing. I'm inspired, driven and motivated. I want that gold medal."

[See Five questions begging for answers after Gilas campaign in Jones Cup]

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