LIKE wine, Asi Taulava also gets better with time.
Now at 40, the 6-foot-9 man-mountain said he no longer needs to dominate a game to help Air21 win as he learns to defer more on his younger teammates such as KG Canaleta and even import Zach Graham.
“I just got to be a veteran, playing smart, and I’m trying to play with my mind more than my age,” explained the former league Most Valuable Player after making his PBA comeback in a 106-102 Express win over Talk `N Text in the Governors Cup.
Taulava had seven points, nine rebounds, six assists, and two blocks in 32 minutes of play in his first game back in the league after a year of absence.
“Well, I’m just going out there playing and helping the guys, just being the veteran in the team and not going out there and not dominate the game,” he said.
Taulava bared he only had less than six practices with the Express since joining them following a trade with Meralco for his playing rights in exchange for Mike Cortez.
But no problem there as the rest of the Express readily took the cudgels for their `Big Brother.’
“These guys (Express teammates) have more legs in their age, so I just pick and choose when to look for shots. I mean, Zach (Graham) and KG, they made it easier to pass so when you see them move that quick, you make that extra pass,” he added.
Taulava is coming off a successful stint with San Miguel Beer in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) where he led the team to the championship last June.
The 13-time PBA All-Star went to capture the league MVP award after in 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Beermen.
Taulava said he doesn’t need to do much of the scoring this time with the Express, whom he believes still has a chance of making the quarterfinals.
At the moment, Air21 is tied with Talk ‘N Text at eighth and ninth spot with identical 2-5 win-loss record.