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    Taulava hopeful to see a more mature Express for the rest of season after early exit

    Jan 11, 2014

    ASI Taulava hopes the numerous endgame lapses of Air21 could fast track the Express’ growth this PBA season with two conferences ahead of them.

    The veteran big man expressed his dismay over the way the team threw away an opportunity to stay alive for a playoff spot against San Mig on Saturday in the PLDT myDSL-Philippine Cup.

    “Felt really bad for our coaches and management. We just got to mature really fast. We lost so many close games this conference so we got to be responsible,” Taulava told Spin.ph shortly after Air21’s 60-67 loss to San Mig to kiss its playoff hopes goodbye.

    The Express fell to 3-10 overall.

    The 40-year-old Taulava struggled all night in a game that saw Air21 fail to execute its plays in the final period, allowing San Mig to pounce on several of the Express’ miscues in the endgame.

    “We just can’t be happy to keep the game close. We have to know how to finish teams off. We let so many games get away from us,” lamented the Fil-Tongan center.

    “This (elimination) is what happens. I guess this is the final game of the season. We don’t have any chance,” he added.

    Taulava also saw his streak of double-double output end at four after finishing the game with just five points and nine rebounds, with San Mig backup center Yancy de Ocampo shadowing him during his 34-minute stint on the floor.

    Air21 plays its last game for the conference against Rain or Shine next Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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