NLEX big man Asi Taulava has been confined in a hospital due to chronic migraine and a persistent fever, hours after the Road Warriors' 94-81 win over GlobalPort on Sunday night.
Taulava first complained of flu two weeks ago after his appearance with the NLEX team at the Panagbenga Flower Festival in Baguio and tried to shake off the illness during the PBA All-Star Weekend in Palawan last week.
Now the illness has caught up with him.
“Everybody knows how sick I am. I’ve been taking all the necessary medicines, but it just won’t heal,” said the 42-year-old evergreen slotman from his hospital bed at the Cardinal Santos Hospital.
“I’ve been practicing and playing through this. My doctor initially wanted me to rest, but I have an obligation to the fans and to my team,” the 6-10 NLEX star added. “I had a relapse, which worsened my ordeal.”
Taulava bared he has played non-stop against the orders of his doctors, saying he cannot afford to miss two crucial games which the team both won to seal a place in the playoffs.
Despite the viral infection, the 2003 MVP still managed to average eight points and 13.5 rebounds in the Road Warriors’ two post-All Stars victories over Ginebra and Globalport.
“I wanted to go out there and help my team. I can’t just leave my teammates in the thick of war,” Taulava said.
No wonder he plans to play for NLEX in a game on Wednesday against KIA Motors.
“I am staying here 'till maybe Monday night. The doctors wanted me to rest completely, I told them I want to play on Wednesday. They said they’d still let me know,” Taulava said, shaking his head.
“I missed practice today (Monday). I will try to ask my doctors if I can practice tomorrow. I need to play on Wednesday,” he said.
Although NLEX has clinched a place in the playoffs, Taulava said the Road Warriors can't afford to ease up on the gas pedal since they need to get a better placing - and hopefully a lighter assignment.
“I want to make sure that our team is complete when we play Kia. We need to win there so we can have a better placing in the playoffs. We’re in the playoffs, but we don’t stop there. We need to get to the best-of-three series,” he said.
As of posting time, Taulava is still under observation and undergoing a battery of tests to determine the cause of his fever, flu and coughing.
“Asi is very resilient. We’ve been advising him to rest. Instead, he insists on playing. And in a big way, he has helped us win games, most of all he has inspired his teammates and the young players who look up to him,” said NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre.
After practice on Monday, the whole Road Warriors team was set to proceed to the NLEX head office in Balintawak to join the birthday celebration of company president Rodrigo Franco.
This time, team management made sure Taulava won't get an invitation.
He needs all the rest he can get.