AMID heightened interest in Asi Taulava from other teams, Air21 has made it known that it won't part with its renaissance man without a fight.
Air21 big boss Lito Alvarez said the PBA ballclub is set to offer Taulava a three-year extension that would guarantee the 6-foot-9 man-mountain's transition from being a player to becoming part of the Express coaching staff.
Alvarez said Taulava’s strong on-court and off-the-court leadership as well as his significant contributions to the Express’ first-ever semifinal finish speak volumes of the 41-year-old center’s value to the team.
“Nagpe-prepare na ako sa kanya (Taulava) ng three years na contract, tapos yung pang third year niya, may option siya to be a player pa rin or be part of the coaching staff,” Alvarez said on Wednesday night.
Taulava would be 44 by the end of the proposed three-year contract.
Alvarez, who serves as Air21’s representative to the PBA board, is aware several teams are keen to pry Taulava away from the Express once his contract expires in August.
The former league MVP finished the recently concluded Commissioner's Cup semifinal series which Air21 lost in five games to San Mig with averages of 17.6 points and 12.2 rebounds.
Big men are also expected to be in high demand in the short offseason considering three expansion teams - Kia Motors, Blackwater Sports, and NLEX - are coming in by next season.
But the Air21 big boss believes their three-year offer to Taulava will be far juicier compared to the offers other PBA teams will try to give to the evergreen slotman.
“Tingin ko naman kung may mag-offer lang sila (other teams) ng one year (contract) at the most, considering his age, pero kung kami naman, three years and tingin ko happy naman siya sa amin,” said Alvarez, who acquired the rights to Taulava from Meralco last season.
Blackwater Sports team owner Dioceldo Sy recently said he is interested in luring Taulava out of the Express while banking on his long-term relationship with the 15-year center.
Sy was responsible for bringing Taulava to the country via his Blu Detergent team in the now defunct Philippine Basketball League.