VETERAN slotman Asi Taulava made no effort to hide his disappointment over his non-inclusion in the PBA All-Star game, saying he felt he played good enough this season to merit a spot.
“You asked me if I felt bad? Of course, I thought I played good this year,” said the 40-year-old Taulava, a day after the reserves for the PBA All-Star team that will face Gilas Pilipinas on April 6 were announced.
They Said It!
“Now, it just became personal. Now, I gotta go out there and prove to everybody that I was worthy!" Former PBA MVP and veteran center Asi Taulava
The snub kept the former league MVP from setting a new league record. He now remained tied with another PBA legend, Alvin Patrimonio, for the most number of All-Star appearances at 12 each.
PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial told Spin.ph that it was the 10 current coaches who chose the reserves for the All Star team outside of the Top Five voted in by the fans.
“Coach ang namimili dun. Kung sino may mga pinakamaraming boto, sila yung naisasama to complete the lineup,” said Marcial.
The five starters of coach Tim Cone who topped a poll among fans are Ginebra's Gregory Slaughter, Mac Baracael, and Chris Ellis, and the San Mig pair of Mark Barroca and James Yap.
Getting the nod from the coaches (in order of most number of votes) were Alaska's Calvin Abueva, San Miguel's Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos, Alaska's Sonny Thoss, Talk 'N Text's Nino Canaleta, and San Mig's Joe Devance and Peter June Simon.
“I guess, it wasn’t meant to be," said Taulava. "I’ll just use this as a motivation to come out and play even harder this conference and show what ‘The Rock’ got. The Rock ain’t done yet.
“Probably they think, I was too old and didn’t play hard enough. But you know, I lay it on the line and give my 100 percent every night,” Taulava added.
“Now, it just became personal. Now, I gotta go out there and prove to everybody that I was worthy!”
Here's the video of full interview with Taulava:
But who does he blame for being left behind in the All Stars list?
“I am not blaming anybody. You can’t pinpoint anybody. I just need to impress people now, including coach Franz (Pumaren). As long as he is happy with me, I am fine,” he said.
“I would have wanted to play against the Gilas. It’s always an honor to go out there and play against them. It’s always a great feeling to play against them. I’ve been a part of that team for a long time.”
Meanwhile, Pumaren also expressed disappointment over the non-inclusion of his top center.
“I was shocked also ha. I really wanted him there, but there’s a policy that you cannot vote for your own player,” said Pumaren. "If you’re going to base it on the all-Filipino performance, he was one of the top performers.
"Yeah, he deserves to be there.”
Taulava’s new teammate, Jonas Villanueva, said: “Nanghihinayang talaga ko. Nagpe-perform naman ng maayos si Asi. Nagdo-double double pa siya. I really believe he deserves a spot in the All-Stars, kahit papano man lang sana narepresent yung team namin."