VETERAN Asi Taulava is a man who's making up for lost time.
Insisting he has no regrets, the Air21 big man knows it’s still not too late to push the re-start button as he and the Express make a dream run at the PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship.
“I was telling my wife and coach Franz (Pumaren) how I wish I was more dedicated and more focused when I was younger,” Taulava confided to Spin.ph, just before the team’s practice at the Gatorade Hoops Center.
“Because my focus and dedication wasn’t there when I was younger. But now I try to start a new life at 40, try to achieve the things I didn’t achieve when I was younger, try to rewrite the story in my life,” he added.
Thanks to a spartan regimen based on modern training techniques, the former league MVP and the Express are now a win away from getting past San Mig for a berth in the best-of-five Finals.
He may be the oldest player in the league at 41, yet still the most reliable inside presence for a giant-killing Express team that stands on the verge of reaching the Finals for the first time.
The do-or-die encounter with the Mixers is set on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, with the winner advancing in the title series against unbeaten Talk 'N Text.
“That’s (winning a championship) one thing I’m hungry about. That keeps me motivated, everyday when I step on the floor, but I still have that chance, and still have that inner drive,” said former league MVP.
Taulava continues to defy Father Time by averaging 17.0 points and 12.25 rebounds in 38.25 minutes in four games in the semifinals. And he insists he still has a lot left in the tank.
After the Express levelled the semis series at 2-2 with their 94-91 win in Game Four, Taulava expects the deciding match to be a `dog fight.’
“Tomorrow is gonna be a dog fight. I think San Mig took us for granted last night (Monday), since they won two games in a row,” he said.
“They thought the series is probably over, thinking to play Talk ‘N Text tomorrow (Wednesday), but they forgot how we got to the semis,” he added.