Michael (Miranda) learns to 'Rock'
Upcoming big man Michael Miranda is glad he has a 'Rock' to lean on and learn from at NLEX in veteran teammate Asi Taulava. Photo from Taulava's Instagram account

MICHAEL Miranda has been one of this PBA season’s early revelations, helping NLEX turn into a legitimate contender in the Philippine Cup.

Stuck on the bench in his first two seasons in the league, the journeyman big man from Pampanga has finally found a home at NLEX where he fits coach Yeng Guiao’s kind of stretch big man.

But the 6-foot-6 slotman also has a solid foundation for a teammate – or, should we say, a 'Rock' to lean on and look up to.

Miranda credited part of his development to veteran teammate Asi Taulava, who has been teaching through his actions apart from his words.  

“Kahit hindi niya sabihin, basta gawin ko lang yung para sa akin eh,” Miranda said of the 45-year-old Taulava. “Pero as a veteran, basta yun lang…hindi kasi kami nagsisisihan sa NLEX eh. Basta mino-motivate lang namin yung bawat isa.”

“Hindi lang sa loob ng court, on and off the court, meron siyang mga advice,” he added of the ageless wonder.

Miranda, who showed he can shoot from long range only this season and averaged 7.1 points, 5.4 boards, and 0.8 assist through 10 games in the eliminations, said he has looked up to Taulava since his varsity days at San Sebastian.

“Oo (idol ko), kasi high school pa lang ako, Asi Taulava na yan eh,” said Miranda. “Kaya nung nalipat ako dito sa NLEX, syempre natutuwa din ako; Dati ko lang pinapanood, ngayon kasama ko na.”

The 27-year-old Miranda, who registered 11 points, on 4-of-8 shooting, including two triples, and four boards in 24 minutes as a starter in Game Three of the semifinal series against Magnolia, is relishing the team-up, eager to keep improving for the tougher battles ahead.

“Mas pagbutihan pa namin dapat 'yung game plan namin. Tsaka team work lang talaga dapat kailangan namin,” Miranda said ahead of Game Four on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos