Triple tower formation as Asi Taulava relishes record 16th All-Star appearance with Fajardo, Slaughter
Asi Taulava plays down his longevity in All-Star games: "It’s all about the fans. We all have to be very grateful for our fans.” Jerome Ascano

THIS is one PBA All-Star Asi Taulava will try to relish and enjoy.

The 45-year-old Fil-Tongan plays in a record 16th All-Star game on Sunday at the San Agustin gym in Iloilo City as part of the Visayas PBA All-Star which parades perhaps the tallest frontcourt in the rich history of the mid-season spectacle.

Taulava will serve as support to the twin tower of June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter, who are out to terrorize the Smart Philippine men’s team in the paint during the third and final leg of the annual extravaganza.

The PBA All-Star and the national team split their first two meetings over the week held in Digos, Davao del Sur (first leg) last Wednesday and Batangas City (second leg) on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Taulava said the presence of the 6-foot-11 Fajardo and the 7-foot Slaughter obviously gives the Visayas selection the edge over the nationals, who will be bannered by big men Japeth Aguilar and Troy Rosario.

“We got the land of the giants,” said Taulava, who was All-Star MVP in 2004 and 2006, respectively.

“It’s going to be fun especially with those young guys (Fajardo and Slaughter) dominating the league. I’ll just go out there and help them out, and have fun at the same time.”

At the same time, Taulava said he’ll cherish the experience since it will mark his 16th All-Star game stint – the most by any player in PBA history.

The former league MVP said he had to recheck the formal letter given to him by the Commissioner’s Office when he was officially named part of the Visayas All-Star roster.

“When I got the memo I thought it was all a mistake, I thought it was for the senior citizen,” he said with a giggle.

But Taulava said he’ll always be grateful for the fans and the league for the continuous trust they give to him in becoming part of the annual showcase.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

“As long as the fans and coaches in the PBA like to have me around, it’s always an honor of taking part in the All-Star weekend,” stressed the veteran NLEX center.

“But you know, this is not about me, not about June Mar, not about Greg. It’s all about the fans. We all have to be very grateful for our fans.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos