A WEEK after his face-off with Petron's vastly improved sophomore center June Mar Fajardo, Asi Taulava is digging in as he braces for a showdown with another upcoming big man in Greg Slaughter.
Air21's evergreen slotman finds a lot of things in common between the two.
“He’s (Slaughter) improved. Like I’ve been telling people, he and June Mar have improved day to day,” Taulava told Spin.ph while preparing for the Express' Tuesday practice at the Gatorade Hoops Center.
They Said It!
“I’m just gonna go out there and give 110 percent. I must throw different things out there." - Air21 center Asi Taulava on his matchup with Ginebra rookie Greg Slaughter
“They are young guys. I know they are not lazy. They have great work ethic. They are always there at the gym working. So I’m working too,” Taulava added.
Taulava gave a good account of himself in his first PBA match-up with Fajardo, scoring 16 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in the team’s 88-90 loss to Petron.
He currently averages 9.5 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 36 minutes in his comeback season in the league after spending one season with San Miguel in the ABL.
But the 6-9 Taulava knows Slaughter presents an altogether different challenge, largely because the Barangay Ginebra big man is bigger and has a wider wingspan than the bulkier Fajardo.
The former league MVP also acknowledges that he has seen big improvements in Slaughter's game since the last time they faced off in the preseason.
That's the reason Taulava, 40, wants to "outthink" Slaughter more than try to poverpower him inside the shaded lane when the Express and the Gin Kings square off on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
If he had tried battling Fajardo's power with power in the Petron match, Taulava said he plans to dig into his deep experience when he takes on Ginebra's 6-foot-11 rookie.
“I’m just gonna go out there and give 110 percent. I must throw different things out there and see what he (Slaughter) likes and don’t like,” he said.
“It’s where I use my mind, not let him get comfortable but put pressure on him, try to outthink the guy, especially me being the veteran.”