ASI Taulava said on Sunday he is willing to talk to Meralco bosses, including team owner Manny V. Pangilinan, to clear the air as he sets his sights on a PBA comeback.
Taulava bolted the Meralco camp at the start of the season, declining a two-year deal with maximum salary to sign up with San Miguel in the Asean Basketball League where he led the Beermen to a maiden title while winning season MVP honors.
Meralco, however, still holds the PBA rights to the 6-9 slotman in perpetuity - something which Bolts coach Ryan Gregorio said the team is willing to part with if the right deal comes along.
The 40-year-old Taulava, who has expressed his desire to finish his career with Barangay Ginebra in Asia's first professional cage league, said he wants to talk to Meralco officials who he may have offended with the manner in which he left the MVP-owned ballclub.
“If they want to hear my side to apologize, I would want to talk to them in person,” said Taulava. “I wouldn’t want to be seen as the bad guy. No way did I mean to offend boss MVP when I left for the ABL.”
Asked if he feels he had offended the Meralco group after leaving the team, the 6-9 slotman replied: “I am not sure, but that’s how it sounds from the press. But I didn’t mean to.
“When I left them, I just wanted to be with my kids and my wife. I respect them and I know they’ll have a hold on my rights, so never will I do or say something bad against them.
“I just wanted to clear the air and stuff, I don’t want them to hold grudge against me and so do I. I don’t want to have ill feelings towards them … This is just to smooth things over,” stressed the evergreen slotman.
The former PBA MVP reiterated his desire to return to the pro league.
“The fire is still there, now that I see young guys coming in. I feel motivated, I want to match up against them and see how I can fare,” said the many-time All-Star.
“Honestly, I can see myself coming back (to the PBA) … but all that really depends on Meralco if they're gonna release me to come back, or if San Miguel finds a way to get my rights.”
For now, the 13-year PBA veteran is set to go on a vacation with his family in Los Angeles but insisted he will be ready in case a call comes to suit up for a team in the Governors’ Cup opening on August 14.
“I’ll keep everything open, and my conditioning on top level,” said Taulava.
On September 2010, Taulava was acquired by the then expansion team Meralco from the now defunct Coca-Cola Tigers for Jason Misolas and a 2010 second round pick, which turned out to be Khasim Mirza.