CEBU – This is one instance where you get to see plenty of Asi Taulava.
Averaging a career low of less than 12 minutes per game this PBA season for NLEX, the ageless slotman is making the most of his time on the court as he is set to extend his record, appearing in his 15th All-Star game when the Visayas selection takes on Gilas Pilipinas on Sunday night.
“I feel good,” the 44-year-old cager said in a rare interview he granted on Saturday, speaking to SPIN.ph as he waited to be checked into his hotel room at Radisson Blu. “It’s just an honor just to be back in this year’s All-Star game. This is for the younger guys, the younger generation.”
“But at the same time, to be voted in, you have to appear,” he added. “This is for the fans. This is not about me or the other players, but for the players to give back to the fans for all the support they’ve given us throughout the years.”
Taulava, who is making his fourth straight All-Star appearance, is hoping to give the national team a worthy tune-up ahead of the Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championship next month.
“We’re going to give them a nice, awesome game, prepare them for the SEABA, because SEABA, you never know what’s going to happen with all the teams coming in,” Taulava said. “Some people say ‘overkill,’ but I’d rather have overkill than go there and get killed, because if we get killed, you can’t make it to the Fiba (Asia Cup) tournament, so overkill is always good in a way.”
“That way, you’re letting your opponents know, you’re putting fear in their heart, and you’re preparing your team for the bigger battles down the road,” he added ahead of a SEABA tournament that will grant only the top team to emerge from the single-round robin a ticket to the Fiba Asia Cup in August.
Taulava also would like to see if he still has it as he bangs bodies with June Mar Fajardo down low.
“I’m planning to hold my ground before the young guy kicks my butt,” Taulava said with a chuckle.
“One thing I like about this Gilas group is it has a very good mixture,” he added. “I used to call them the younger group, but now they’re veterans, so it’s a good to see these guys transition to becoming veterans, becoming leaders of their teams.”