PUERTO PRINCESA - Laughter filled the South team bus as coach Alex Compton ribbed starter Asi Taulava.
"I am not sure but I think this is the first time that an All Star starter is older than his coach," said the Alaska coach as soon as Taulava stepped into the bus.
Compton, who will turn 41 on March 16, was laughing out loud over what he called a 'bizarre coaching status' with the evergreen 42-year-old Taulava.
"I am just blown away, this is a first in the PBA All-Star or any other All-Star game," he said to the delight of the South team.
Compton said he was simply amazed with the staying power of Taulava, one of the four players from the nineties still active in the league aside from Danny Seigle, Danny Ildefonso and Eric Menk.
"I get tired when throwing chest pass and I can't believe Asi is out there playing heavy minutes and he's not tired," said Compton.
Taulava took the joke as a complement.
"It just showed that hardwork pays off and pure dedication to the game of basketball means no boundaries," Taulava said. "I just feel more proud to hear words like that because it means I still have a value as a player."
Taulava's South teammate James Yap is also in awe over how the NLEX center is challenging Father Time.
"Gulat din ako sa kanya kasi at his age ang haba ng playing time niya tapos very valuable pa siya sa team niya. At napasama pa sa All-Stars," said Yap.
"Kung may chance ako na at his age nasa same level of competitiveness ako siguro magiging proud din ako, kaso parang ang hirap. Disiplina talaga," said the 33-year-old pride of Escalante, Negros Occidental.
And what will be Taulava's role in South's bid to again trounce their North rivals?
"I will be the leader of this team, the glue guy. I just want to make sure all of us play by the book. This is just an exhibition game but we will treat it like a finals match," said Taulava, who will also play a major role in the team's dance number before their 6 p.m. game supported by the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining and CoralBay Nickel Corporations