A CLUB in the Chinese league and another Asean Basketball League squad have expressed interest in hiring Asi Taulava, widening the options of the free agent man-mountain as he weighs a new deal offered by Meralco.
Taulava's mother team Meralco has junked a previous one-year offer in favor of a better two-year deal for the 6-9 slotman, who his agent said is being eyed by at least three ABL squads as well as by Foshan Long in the professional Chinese Basketball Association.
PBA team Barako had also been mentioned as one of Taulava’s next possible destinations.
Taulava’s agent Sheryl Reyes told Spin.ph that her ward is weighing the best possible option that would be favorable for his family, especially since his wife Anna May is pregnant with their fourth child.
“Asi is currently consulting with his wife regarding the many offers he is receiving. Recently, we received a call from Foshan Long, a CBA team which is interested in giving him a two-year contract to play in China. That’s one option Asi is considering though it would entail a relocation for him and his family,” Reyes said.
The Foshan Lions are one of 17 teams participating in the tough CBA league, where the best players from China play along with American imports.
Reyes refused to divulge the three ABL teams interested in availing of the 39-year-old Fil-Tongan’s services.
Meantime, Meralco Bolts new team manager Butch Antonio said their two-year offer to the 14-year league veteran also comes with other perks.
"Initially, we offered Asi a one-year deal. But later on, we came to the decision of giving him a two-years contract extension instead. Asi asked us to give him some time to think about it and talk about it also with his wife, and we respect him for that,” Antonio told Spin.ph.
Antonio said team management is even willing to help Taulava plan for his post-basketball career, adding the Fil-Tongan may eventually become part of one the businesses that involve Meralco owner Manny Pangilinan.
“Of course, our group has a lot to offer to Asi. In fact, what he did recently in the charity game to help flood victims reveals a certain aspect of Asi. And we hope he would consider what we would offer him,” added Antonio, who also serves as the project director of the MVP Sports Foundation.
Taulava, who broke into the PBA as a direct-hire Fil-foreign player for Mobiline (now Talk ’N Text), averaged 10.8 points and 10.1 rebounds in the recent Governors Cup where he helped the Bolts to a semifinal appearance.
The many-time national player won the MVP award in 2003.