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    Vastly improved Fajardo deserves accolades going his way, says ageless Taulava

    Dec 11, 2013
    Air21 veteran Asi Taulava held his own in his first PBA match-up with rising star June Mar Fajardo. Jerome Ascano

    HE may have held his own against June Mar Farado, but Asi Taulava concedes his younger counterpart is the new dominant force in the paint in the pro league.

    Taulava, the league’s oldest player at 40, posted impressive numbers of 16 points, 18 boards, two steals, and one assist in 40 minutes compared to the 24-year-old Fajardo’s 13 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks, and one assist in Petron’s 90-88 win over Air21 on Wednesday night.

    “It’s the past versus the future,” Boosters coach Gee Abanilla said. “I think Asi has a lot of gas left in him and showed June Mar a few tricks of his own. It’s good that June Mar was able to hold his own. It’s going to be good for June Mar.”

    They Said It!

    “He’s improved so much the last time I met up against him. As time progresses, he’s just going to get even better." - Air21 center Asi Taulava

    Still, Taulava is well aware of the inevitable changing of the guard.

    “Time has changed. June Mar is the younger guy,” Taulava admitted. “He deserves the publicity that’s coming his way. I can’t take that away from him.”

    “He’s improved so much the last time I met up against him. As time progresses, he’s just going to get even better,” added Taulava, the league’s most dominant slotman in the last decade.

    Still, Taulava said he enjoyed his matchup with Fajardo.

    “It was awesome. I enjoyed it out there battling with the young guy. He was big and heavy and I just tried to outthink him tonight,” Taulava said. “June Mar came out with his A-game and I just tried to match the same intensity.”

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    “It was very nice to see his improvement from last season to this season,” added Taulava, who played with Fajardo in tuneup games with San Miguel Beer in the Asean Basketball League. “He’s got so much space to grow. With good work ethic, I don’t see him stopping.”

    As the former stalwart of the national team, Taulava doesn’t want to burden Fajardo with too much expectations for Gilas next year in the World Championship in Spain.

    “I don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on the young guy. Being part of the national team for so long, I just let him go out there and develop.”

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    Air21 veteran Asi Taulava held his own in his first PBA match-up with rising star June Mar Fajardo. Jerome Ascano
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