ASI Taulava admitted he felt his age for a while on Friday when NLEX lost to Alaska, 89-81, in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup.
The Road Warriors star slotman, the league’s oldest player at 42, gave everyone a scare when he fell on his back after Vic Manuel blocked his shot early in the third quarter.
But Taulava shrugged it off, and instead showed disappointment about his unusually sub-par showing that saw him tally just 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting and seven boards in 29 minutes.
“My back’s fine. It’s my ego (that’s hurting),” the former league MVP said. “I got my ass kicked tonight.”
Taulava, though, admitted the fall also hurt as he took some time to get up.
“I tried to stand up a little bit faster, but I was like, ‘Hell no, I feel like I’m forty-two right now,” the Filipino-Tongan big man said with a laugh. “It was painful and it knocked the wind out of me."
“But like I said, it was more of my ego hurting than my back,” he added. “Sonny (Thoss), Eric (Menk), Vic, and Calvin (Abueva), they were ready for us tonight.”
Taulava made special mention of a fellow old-timer in the 41-year-old Menk, who played despite nursing a broken nose.
“That’s part of the older generation,” Taulava said. “You know, broken nose, busted, you don’t take no days off. We come back and play. That’s how much we enjoy the game.”