COUNT expansion team Blackwater Sports among the teams keen to bid for the services of Air21 center Asi Taulava when his contract expires in August.
Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy admitted he has been watching with great interest the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs, where Taulava and the Express have pulled off the biggest upset of the season by ousting the second-seeded San Miguel Beermen.
And he’s the first to admit that the 41-year-old Taulava remains a solid inside threat, putting the evergreen Express big man at the top of his wish list as Sy puts together a team for Blackwater's debut in the pro league next season which kicks off on October 19.
They Said It!
“We believe (Asi taulava) can be an asset and we can build our team around him." Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy
“He’s (Taulava) the best big man around. I think he can still give quality minutes against (San Miguel Beer center June Mar) Fajardo or (Ginebra’s Greg) Slaughter,” Sy told Spin.ph.
Sy, whose team is currently defending its PBA D-League Foundation Cup title, believes the 6-9 Taulava’s discipline and passion for the game make him the perfect franchise player for Blackwater.
“We believe he can be an asset and we can build our team around him. He’s a veteran and experienced already,” he added.
The Blackwater big boss said he doesn’t intend to engage Air21 in a “bidding war” when Taulava’s contract with the Express expires at the end of the season.
But the soft-spoken basketball patron said he is banking on his long-term relationship with Taulava who he brought to the country to play for his former club in the Vis-Min Cup of the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL) back in 1997.
The relationship remains solid to this day, Sy added.
“Well, we don’t want to go into a bidding war (with Air21) but I’d like to think that we’re ahead when it comes to relationship because we invite him to our house, and he invites us to his house,” he said.
“His other daughter, my wife serves as her godmother. That’s where we are now, there’s closeness of a family. So if everything goes well, we hope to see Asi playing for us this October,” he added.
After his season-long stint with Blu, Taulava moved up to the PBA as a direct-hire player of Mobiline (now Talk ‘N Text), where he went on to lead the franchise to the 2003 All-Filipino title en route to being named the season’s Most Valuable Player.