ANTIPOLO CITY — Coach Boyet Fernandez was worried, but Asi Taulava eased his anxiety.
The evergreen big man was so comfortable in low top Chuck Taylors that he played his best game of the season in NLEX’s 20-point win against Blackwater.
[Asi Taulava posts huge double-double as NLEX clobbers winless Blackwater]
Taulava’s monster performance also helped the Road Warriors end a three-game skid and improve their mark to 3-4.
“I had to bring back the Chucks,” said Taulava resoundingly as he entered the press room.
“You don’t need to have an expensive shoe to play in the PBA,” he added, baring that his shoe cost just around eight dollars.
Taulava said he thought about wearing the Chuck Taylor shoes with the Road Warriors on a losing streak entering the game against Blackwater.
“We’ve been losing so I told myself ‘What will I do if I was in high school when I was hungry, motivated and just want to win.’ It's been a long week. We've lost three in a row. You ponder what to do to help the team win. I went out there and lead by example,” said Taulava.
Taulava said the Chucks felt fine even without tape on his ankles.
“When I’m around the park with the kids, I’m more comfortable running around with Chucks. I’m either barefoot or with slippers so wearing shoes is just normal. Anything comfortable with me,” said Taulava.
NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez admitted being a little worried about Taulava wearing the canvas shoes.
"He said we've been losing for the last three games. Change of shoes will hopefully bring a change in our game and he is right. I give credit to him but I warned him that I'm worried about the shoes and he said in our days, we play Chuck Taylor shoes high-cut and low-cut," said Fernandez.
Taulava drew loud cheers from fans, mostly from Barangay Ginebra which was playing in the second game of the day.
The Fil-Tongan appreciated the crowd’s reception to his game and to his shoes.
“They loved it. They enjoyed somebody running around with those shoes. It’s better than wearing those P10,000 shoes,” Taulava said.
With the canvas shoes working wonders, Taulava said he intends to wear another pair for their next game in the conference.
“I told myself if I pulled this one tonight, I have another pair waiting for the next game,” said Taulava.