ASI Taulava’s MVP-like performance last season had been amply rewarded.
The ageless Fil-Tongan slotman inked a two-year, maximum salary deal with NLEX on Friday worth P10 million.
NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre said the 6-foot-9 Taulava deserves the hefty contract, considering his strong work ethic and the leadership he showed last season while playing for Air21.
“Two years ang binigay namin kay Asi na maximum (deal). Eh kasi hanggang ngayon naman, si Asi, kita mo naman kung mag-workout, and he’s very determined,” Dulatre told Spin.ph
Taulava, recipient of the PBA Press Corps Comeback Player of the Year award, is expected to receive the maximum monthly salary of P420,000 in the two-year deal.
Taulava posted a photo at his Instagram, while signing the contract in the presence of Dulatre.
The 41-year-old Taulava averaged 14.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists for the Express last season, leading Air21 to a first-ever semifinal stint in franchise history after upstaging second seed and twice-to-beat San Miguel in the Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals.
The Express then forced a deciding fifth game against eventual champion San Mig Coffee before bowing in their sudden-death match.
Last June, NLEX, which won a sixth PBA D-League title, bought the Air21 franchise.
“Isa sa mga reasons kung bakit binili namin ang Air21 eh dahil kumpleto naman sila, Konting pieces na lang naman ang idadagdag,” Dolatre pointed out.
Meantime, Dulatre said the Road Warriors see no problem signing up rookie Fil-Am forward Matt Ganuelas Rosser to a three-year deal soon.
The 6-foot-5 Rosser, a vital cog in NLEX’s dominant run in the D-League the last two years, was selected fourth overall by the Road Warriors in last Sunday’s 2014 Gatorade PBA Annual Rookie Draft.
INSTAGRAM LINK OF ASI SIGNING PHOTO - http://instagram.com/p/sQ8nCwy35Q/