Asi Taulava said he was simply out to have fun when the seventh-seeded Air21 Express opened the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals against second seeds San Miguel Beermen.
The 6-9 Taulava sure had a lot of fun after teaming up with energetic forward Sean Anthony and import Wesley Witherspoon last week, steering the Express past the twice-to-beat Beermen with consecutive playoff victories, 92-79 and 101-95 in double overtime.
“The hard work starts in the offseason with my personal trainer,” Taulava said, who remains in top form at age 41. “When the season starts, I’m just out there having fun. Dream Chaser.”
The one-time PBA MVP was a thorn in the Beermen’s side, averaging 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 37.5 minutes in the quarterfinals as he proved to everyone that he could still keep pace with the league’s young big men like San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo.
Taulava said the team’s hunger and laser-like focus was what helped Air21 achieve what no one really thought the team could achieve in the playoffs.
“It was just another team we had to go through if we wanted two make it to the semis. Our team is very focused and hungry,” added the three-time PBA Mythical First Team member.
Taulava made the buzzer-beating follow-up that sent the game into overtime then hit two big baskets in the second extra period to complete the season’s biggest playoff reversal last Friday.
The 'Rock' played beautiful music with Fil-Canadian Sean Anthony, whose hustle, energy and other intangibles he brought to the team gave the Express a solid one-two scoring punch.
The 6-4 Anthony, who missed the first six games for Air21 due to a hand injury, stepped up big in the playoffs, averaging career-best numbers of 21.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals.
Taulava and Anthony’s outstanding playoff performances earned them the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of April 21-26.
“Si Sean di nagba-backdown iyan, di lang siya dumedepensa, pero may offense din siya,” Air21 swingman Macmac Cardona said in describing Anthony.