A DAY after turning 40, Asi Taulava aired his fondest wish: to be a King someday.
Speaking to Spin.ph on Sunday at the sidelines of Barangay Ginebra's match against Rain or Shine, the evergreen slotman said his fondest wish is to fulfill his dream to play for the Kings.
Taulava said Ginebra has always been his favorite team, from the time he first played in the pro league back in 1998 as a direct hire of the Mobiline Phone Pals (now the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters).
“I have always loved Ginebra, saw how their fans are passionate for the game and for the team,” said Taulava while receiving countless birthday greetings from PBA players at the back entrance of the Big Dome.
“That’s my ultimate dream: (to play for Ginebra) and finish off my career with the team,” the 13-time PBA all star said.
Taulava is currently playing for the San Miguel Beermen-Philippines in the Asean Basketball League, but he is optimistic of returning to the pro league after the current ABL season ends in June.
His PBA playing rights is still held by the Meralco Bolts, and chances of playing for the Gin Kings or other PBA teams depend on whether or not he’ll get a release from the Manny V. Pangilinan franchise.
“After the ABL season, hopefully I am given the opportunity to come back,” said Taulava. “If they (Meralco) want me back, or they release my rights, that we still have to see.
"I just have to wait. Hopefully they will let me come back. I just have to wait and see what happens."
The Fil-Tongan cager likewise bared how he idolized the Philippines' basketball living legend, Robert Jaworski, the reason he is motivated to maintain a high level of fitness at his age.
Taulava, in fact, wants to emulate the longevity of Jaworski, who played in the PBA from its inception in 1975 until 1998.
Asked if he is looking to play in the pro league until the age of 52 just like Jaworski, Taulava gave a candid reply: “Yes, that’s one of my inspirations."
He added: "If I can then it will be it, if not, then it’s time to retire. Right now, I try not to be somebody else, but I just keep myself in shape and be ready to play everyday.”
Extra workouts, plyometrics, and good diet are just some of the things he does to stay in shape.
“Right now, I have no time frame yet on my career. It’s up to my body, it’s a yearly basis or up until I feel aches. Right now my body is good, I still have many more years. I just try to keep myself in shape. If I’m in shape, I continue playing."
His new Beermen teammate Matt Rogers can attest to Taulava’s youthfulness.
“The first time I saw him, I thought he’s younger than me. He still has it. You should see his dunks in our last game,” said Rogers, a former import of the San Mig Coffee Mixers.