VETERAN big man Asi Taulava vows to enjoy Sunday’s PBA All-Star game between the North and South teams in what he said could possibly be the last time he’ll be suiting up in the annual spectacle.
And if indeed it’s gonna be his last, the 43-year-old center of NLEX wants to go out in a big way.
“You have to appreciate the moment because next year is no guarantee,” said Taulava during the weekend festivities leading to the highlight event set at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“If this is gonna be my last All-Star, I wanna win and exit in a good way.”
The 6-foot-9 Fil-Tongan is seeing action in his 14th All-Star game, surpassing the record of 12 by four-time MVP Alvin Patrimonio for the most appearances by a player since the league institutionalized the event in 1989.
His inclusion in the South starting lineup came at the last minute when he was made a replacement for the injured Greg Slaughter, the 7-foot Ginebra center voted by fans as part of the South team’s starting unit.
For such reason alone, Taulava hopes Slaughter would join the South team on the bench during game time.
“We know he’s injured, but we’re hoping for Greg to still come and sit on the bench because he’s still a big part of the South boys,” he said.
Taulava is also thrilled being reunited with South coach Leo Austria, with whom he won a championship in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) as part of the San Miguel Beer team.
“We know it’s not gonna be joking around playing for coach Leo,” said Taulava. “He takes basketball seriously, and he wants to win.”
Exactly the same wavelength as Asi is.