ASI Taulava said his stint with the national team in the past prepared him well against his first face-off with KIA’s giant import Peter John Ramos in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday night.
Taulava tallied 10 points and 10 rebounds and tried to hold his own against the 7-foot-3 Ramos in NLEX’s 102-86 win over the Road Warriors.
Although the Puerto Rican import still ended up with 41 points and 23 rebounds, Ramos was held to just two points in the final quarter by Taulava during a stretch when the Road Warriors finally pulled away for good.
The 6-foot-9 Fil-Tongan could only look back at his stay with the national team as the one that helped him hold his ground against Ramos, a former member of the Puerto Rico national team.
“That’s the advantage I have as far as playing for the national team because I’ve been there for so long, played against Yao (Ming), (Hamed) Haddadi, and Bateer Mengke and the list goes on,” Taulava said.
“He’s (Ramos) such a big guy, very skillful, very crafty, and the only thing we can do is limit him,” added the 42-year-old NLEX center.
“Yes, he got his numbers in the first three quarters, but by the fourth quarter, he got tired, and that gave us the chance to finish him off.”
Taulava said Ramos plays differently from the 7-foot-4 Haddadi, the star center of the Iran national squad.
But there’s no doubt both big men are dominant in their own right owing to their size, stressed Taulava.
“They (Haddadi and Ramos) are all good in different ways. With Haddadi, I have to be physical with him to keep him away from the basket because he got a left and right jump hook,” he said.
“But Ramos doesn’t have as many moves as Hamed Haddadi, so I just try to take away his first move and try to see his counter. If he’s not closer to the basket, that’s an advantage for us,” added the 13-time All-Star center.
NLEX punched a ticket to the playoffs following the win as the Road Warriors improved to 6-4 overall.