MACAU – It’s been three long years since Asi Taulava had a chance to shoot hoops in a foreign land.
A staple of the national team since 2002, the Fil-Tongan slotman has gotten used to blazing the continent with his game. And the last time he did it, he was a part of the silver medal-winning Gilas Pilipinas in the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship in Changsha.
“It’s been too long,” he said with a smile.
Luckily for him, he still had a chance to wow the fans overseas at 45 years of age as NLEX joined the Asia League Super 8 here competing with some of the best clubs in China, Korea, Japan, and Chinese Taipei.
It also gave Taulava a chance to reconnect with some familiar faces, meeting once again foes he faced through the years.
“It’s like a reunion. You can see players and coaches you’ve faced before and in a way, it’s an advantage because I know how that guy plays, the same with that guy. I know a lot of them,” he said.
But as much as his familiarity worked in his favor, the same could not be said for his foes as Taulava, who has been a back-to-the-basket player for the majority of his career, showed his newfound arsenal in the international stage: his three-point shooting.
“I’m playing outside and they’re just leaving me open. They don’t know I can shoot threes now, so that’s better for me,” he chuckled.
Through the group stages, Taulava has shot 3-of-9 from downtown and is hoping to make more as the Road Warriors brace for Guangzhou Long Lions in the semifinals set on Saturday.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Don't tell that to Asi.