ASI Taulava said negotiations for a new contract is farthest from his mind at the moment, insisting his sole focus is on Air21's semifinal series against San Mig in the PBA Commissioner's Cup playoffs.
The 41-year-old former league MVP's contract is set to expire in August and his fine play this season has heightened interest from other teams like expansion ballclub Blackwater Sports.
“I’m still a free agent (at the end of the season), but my focus right now is Air21,” Taulava said. “I’m not thinking about contracts right now. I know that’s hot right now on everybody’s topic, but I have to do what I have to do. My contract with fall into place once it expires.”
Taulava only smiled when asked to comment on Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy’s expressed interest to lure the Air21 big man into the new team's fold during the offseason.
“I don’t want to get into that right now. But I want to be loyal to boss Lito (Alvarez, Air21 board representative) and boss (Bert Lina, team owner),” said the many-time All-Star.
“My main focus right now is to get this team maybe into the Finals, before I think of other things like that. I have to be respectful and I have to show my loyalty and just go play basketball,” he added.
And so far, Taulava’s focus is evident, helping Air21 win its third straight game in the playoffs following a 103-100 victory over San Mig Super Coffee for a 1-0 semifinals series lead on Tuesday.
“For us (Express) to show up every night, play Air21 basketball with the never-say-die attitude, we just give 110 percent next time, as long as we lay it all on the line every night,” Taulava said, who shot a perfect four-of-four from the field in Game One to finish with 14 points to go with nine rebounds.
“Team goal comes first. Personal goal comes second.”
The Express are now two wins away from a first-ever Finals appearance in franchise history. As it is, the Express have already made franchise history by making the best-of-five semifinals last week when they defeated second-seeded San Miguel Beer in the quarterfinals.