Asi Taulava passes torch, says PH basketball in good hands with Fajardo, Slaughter
Asi Taulava played in his record 16th PBA All-Star Game on Sunday night. Jerome Ascano

ASI Taulava spent his record 16th PBA All-Star appearance mostly from the bench, watching his Visayas All-Star team cruise past Gilas Pilipinas, 157-141, in Iloilo to cap off the midseason spectacle on Sunday night.  

The 45-year-old NLEX big man saw the least action among all the players, playing less than 11 minutes and contributing four points on 2-of-3 shooting, eight rebounds, and four assists.

But the ageless slotman didn’t mind as he enjoyed witnessing greatness from successors June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter, who teamed up for the first time in their basketball careers after being rivals since college.

“It’s fun seeing those guys,” Taulava told SPIN.ph the morning after the game. “It’s been long overdue for the fans to finally see Greg and June Mar play together.”

Taulava marveled at Fajardo’s playmaking skills that he flashed in the exhibition, and Slaughter’s paint presence.

“It was amazing to see June Mar handle the ball around the perimeter, run up and down the floor, and for Greg to control the game with his rebounds, outlets,” Taulava said.

“The PBA is in good hands with those two guys, watching them blossom,” he added. “And at the same time with Raymond (Almazan), he’s coming around, so Philippine basketball is in good hands.”

Taulava may be passing the torch, so does it mean that we won’t see the former league MVP stretch his All-Star record to 17 appearances next year?

“I’m just gonna laugh,” the 19-year veteran said, before turning serious. “I’m enjoying the moment. I don’t want to look too far ahead of myself. I’m living in the moment.”

“I’ve never expected myself to be a 16-time All-Star. It’s a blessing. Thank you for the Man Upstairs for giving me this long-lasting career,” he added.

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