So the league’s oldest player last season, 39-year-old Asi Taulava, has bid Meralco and probably the PBA goodbye.
The Fil-Tongan former national team member, whose contract with the Bolts expired last August 31, has decided not to accept his mother team’s two-year offer for a contract extension.
Unless his PBA rights are traded by Meralco to another PBA team, word is Taulava is headed to the ASEAN Basketball League – likely the San Miguel Beermen, although he reportedly also has standing offers from reigning ABL champion Indonesia and also Malaysia, whose head coach, Ariel Vanguardia, was one of Talk ‘N Text’s assistant coaches when Taulava won his only PBA championship with the then Phone Pals in the 2003 All-Filipino Cup.
There is also an offer from a Chinese Basketball Association ballclub although chances of Taulava grabbing that chance is reportedly remote as it is only a six-month offer.
While Taulava obviously still wants to play and has proven he still can play, the questions being asked by many are – have we seen the last of “The Rock” in the PBA? Or will he be back in the PBA in no time?
Here are Taulava’s numbers in the PBA since joining the league as a direct-hire recruit of Mobiline in 1999:
SEASONS 13 (1999 up to 2011-12)
MINUTES 14,693 (34.8 mpg)
POINTS 6,693 (15.9 ppg)
REBOUNDS 4,926 (11.7 rpg)
ASSISTS 966 (2.3 apg)
MVP 1 (2003)
BEST PLAYER OF THE CONFERENCE 1 (2003 All-Filipino Cup)
FINALS MVP 1 (2003 All-Filipino Cup)
PBA TITLES 1 (2003 All-Filipino Cup w/ Talk ‘N Text)
MYTHICAL 1ST TEAM 3 (2003, 2007-08, 2008-09)
MYTHICAL 2ND TEAM 2 (2002, 2009-10)
ALL-STAR GAMES 12 (tied for most w/ Patrimonio)
ALL-STAR MVP 2 (2004 shared w/ Alapag, 2006)