NLEX management knows where veteran big man Asi Taulava is coming from. But at the same time, he also has to realize the kind of role expected of him under the new system of coach Yeng Guiao.
In light of Taulava’s decision to reconsider his earlier call for the Road Warriors to trade him, the team stressed the need for him to adapt to whatever role he’ll be given by Guiao.
“Coach Yeng added that he needs to accept his role in the team,” said team manager Ronald Dulatre in recalling what transpired in the meeting between him, Taulava, and Guiao shortly after NLEX’s practice on Tuesday.
Dulatre added frustration got the better of the 43-year-old center following the limited playing time he’s been getting under Guiao after enjoying considerable minutes on the floor during the time of previous mentor Boyet Fernandez.
Making matters worse was the heel injury he sustained prior to the opening of the PBA Philippine Cup that hampered his start in the season-opening meet and the subsequent skid of the Road Warriors in the standings that saw the team lose its next five games after winning its season debut.
“Basically, that’s his frustration. He wants to contribute more to the team, but he cannot because he’s not yet recovered 100 percent from his previous injuries,” said the NLEX official.
“He just wants to be 100 percent in shape and try to help our team more.”
In the wake of Taulava’s request to be traded, Guiao didn’t blink even once, saying he’s open about any possibilities especially if the former league MVP is not satisfied with the way things are being run within the franchise.
“You know that every time I have a player who wants to be trade, I respect it, and find a way to make them happy,” said Guiao in a talk with SPIN.ph.
But Dulatre said Taulava made it clear during their talk that his first option is really to stay with the team.
“He told us that he’s staying,” said the NLEX team executive. “And Coach Yeng is much willing to find other ways for him to contribute.”
Taulava has refused to talk about the issue and shunned attempts for any media interview. A private message and text sent by SPIN.ph weren’t returned.