IF he can sustain his sizzling form, Asi Taulava should further move up in the race for the season’s top individual award.
Two games into the PBA Governors’ Cup, the 41-year-old man mountain has emerged as the PBA’s best of the week after leading Air21 to a 2-0 record and a franchise best start to a conference, averaging 20.5 points and 13 rebounds.
The 6-9 Fil-Tongan jumped from No. 8 to no. 4 in the MVP race for this season after the team’s solid playoff run in the second conference where he averaged 14.4 points and 10.7 rebounds.
And he isn’t showing any sign of slowing down.
Taulava led Air21 to a win in its conference opener, tallying 19 points, 14 rebounds and two assists while combining with energetic import Dominique Sutton in a 103-96 win over Rain or Shine on Tuesday.
Air21 continued its stellar play and outplayed Barako Bull on Saturday, 101-86, with the ageless Taulava dominating the paint and posting 22 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
The inspiring plays earned him the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for the period of May 19 to 25, beating out youthful big men led by MVP statistical race leader June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra rookie Greg Slaughter for the weekly citation.
Taulava said the team’s strong bond was one of the keys to the team’s strong start for the season-ending tournament.
“We’re family here. That’s how coach Franz has built this team and transformed it,” said Taulava.
“It’s a family atmosphere, like big brother and little brother environment. If they have any problem with me, they go talk to me as a big brother, and at the same time, I have to show them respect and let them voice their opinions when I do something wrong,” explained the one-time PBA MVP.