ASI Taulava and the NLEX team lost to the Mahindra Enforcers on Saturday, but the NLEX center found a bright spot in the loss as he came away impressed with a kindred spirit in Mahindra's Bradwyn Guinto.
Guinto, the former San Sebastian center and a second-round draft choice of the Enforcers last year, ended up scoreless in five minutes of playing time when Mahindra beat NLEX, 106-99, but his play left a mark on Taulava long before the latest meeting between their two teams.
“He is a banger and undersized playing the five. He is a hardworker. He doesn’t look intimidated and he looks like he lives in the weight room,” said Taulava about the 24-year-old Guinto who's averaging 7 points and 3.7 rebounds in the Commissioner’s Cup for Mahindra.
“The future is going to be bright for him. You see in the all-Filipino how much he has improved,” he added.
Taulava said he will always be impressed with guys who do extra work in the gym just like what he does, which has allowed him to extend his playing career to the point of being the oldest active player in the PBA at 43.
“That’s the kind of thing I look at guys, guys who like to spend time in the weights room, put in that extra work, and continue to do everything else the coach wants you to do,” said Taulava.
While the 43-year-old still has no plans to retire, he does hope to have one last understudy before his PBA career ends, and he prefers young players such as Guinto who share his work ethic.
“It will be great to have a younger guy to teach him the ropes,” said Taulava, who was interviewed by reporters within earshot of NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre.
“Boss Ronald will take care of that,” he added.