NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre doesn’t see Asi Taulava’s age as a problem as the Road Warriors looks to make him the cornerstone ahead of their debut in the PBA this October.
Taulava showed that he’s still at the top of his game at age 41, averaging close to 38 minutes in 40 games for the Air21 Express last season while averaging 14.7 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
The ageless slotman has since returned to where he started his PBA career after NLEX bought the Air21 franchise, thus acquiring the core of the Express squad that includes Macmac Cardona, Fil-Am Sean Anthony, along with guard Jonas Villanueva, Mark Borboran and Aldrech Ramos.
Dulatre said Taulava's numbers are impressive, the reason they are determined to sign up Taulava to a multi-year deal and help NLEX be competitive right in its first season in the pro league.
“Na-delay lang ang negotiation namin ni Asi because of his US tour, pero konti na lang naman sa negotiation,” Dulatre told Spin.ph on Monday.
“Hindi rin naman namin nakikita ang age factor kay Asi dahil maganda naman ang condition niya dahil na rin sa pag hire niya ng conditioning coach,” he added.
Dulatre said they intend to surround Taulava with enough talent to ensure that the Warriors won’t be pushovers.
“Ang team namin more or less mga 60 to 70 percent na composition nito eh galing sa Air21, then we will just try to add young talent,” said Dulatre, whose team owns the fourth pick overall in next month’s PBA Rookie Draft.
Dulatre also said should any of their former NLEX players from the PBA D-League decide to join the rookie draft, they are looking to tab one of them to infuse young blood in their PBA team.
“Actually, at the end of the day, kung nag-decide na sila (NLEX players from D-League) desisyon na nila iyun, And if they indeed join the draft, we hope to grab one of them,” he added.