ON the day he appeared before PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa and learned that he will be likely suspended for a slap on San Miguel forwad David Semerad, Asi Taulava got the league memo that he is set to appear in All-Star game for a record 14th time.
Talk about a bittersweet turn.
“I am so happy because even the recent turmoil, I am looking forward to rewriting history further,” said Taulava, who got the second highest votes behind Greg Slaughter among the South big men and got the start owing to the Ginebra slotman's injury.
The NLEX slotman has already made the midseason spectacle 13 previous times and the start in the August 7 game, at age 43, further cements his status as one of the greats in the pro league.
Since joining the PBA in 1999, Taulava has only missed the All Stars four times, thrice when the PBA revised the format of the annual event to feature the national team in 2000, 2009 and 2013.
The only All-Stars he really missed making was in 2014, when he made a strong PBA comeback with the Air21 Express after a one-year stint in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
“That time I was so hurt, because I gave everything for Air21 to prove that I still belong to the country’s premiere basketball league with a double-double every night, then I was not included in the All Stars?” he said.
“But at the end of the day, it was okay coz the following year, the fans raised me up and made me one of the top vote getters,” he added.
With another All-Star start, Taulava said he hopes to inspire people to keep believing that no one's too old to chase your dream.
“My basketball career can be a good storyline for a movie script, but it just goes to show that no matter how old you get, if you just put your mind into it, you can achieve almost everything you want,” he said.
“It’s not yet too late to do something or improve anything, as long as you’re breathing, as long as there’s a drop of motivation in your heart, you can be somebody better than your old self,” said Taulava, the 2004 (with Jimmy Alapag) and 2006 All Stars MVP.
But more than the All-Stars, Taulava is focused on one thing.
“I want to win another PBA championship,” he said. “And that starts with us right now, we need to stand up, shake the dust, stick our chests out and keep our heads up. We did that before and I believe this new team (NLEX) can do it again.”