NLEX said it is bent on keeping Asi Taulava in its fold next season, a day after the Metro Pacific Investments Corp.-controlled firm's purchase of the Air21 franchise was approved by the league board.
NLEX president Rodrigo Franco said the Road Warriors are keen to have Taulava in their roster for next season after seeing the 41 year old revive his career with an MVP year in the Asean Basketball League and an impressive season with the Air21 Express.
“NLEX will do everything to keep Asi with the Road Warriors,” said Franco, who added that they intend to retain most of the players from the Air21 franchise.
Taulava, however, is expected to draw interest from other teams as he will become a restricted free agent when the deal he signed with the Express expires at the end of July.
One team that has been adamant in Taulava is expansion team Blackwater Sports of Dioceldo Sy, who brought Taulava to the Philippines through Blu Detergent in the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL).
In an official statement, Franco thanked the board for approving NLEX's purchase of the Airfreight 2100 PBA franchise.
“We are happy that the NLEX Road Warriors will start playing in the PBA next conference as the team entry of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation. Many thanks to the board for approving the transfer to MPIC of the Air21 PBA franchise,' he said.
The Road Warriors have a storied history in the PBA D-League winning six championships after seven conferences in the league. NLEX swept fellow PBA-bound team Blackwater Sports in the recent Foundation Cup finals.
“NLEX intends to bring to the PBA its exciting brand of basketball that been very successful in the D-League,” Franco added.