04 June 2013

Taulava Attracts Interest

Asi Taulava
When Asi Taulava opted out of his Meralco contract to play in the ABL for the San Miguel Beermen, everyone thought that it was a prelude for an eventual retirement. Nobody thought that the 40-year old slotman will show some inspired plays reminiscent of his MVP days and that these will attract the attention of two PBA teams, Barangay Ginebra and Air21 Express.

According to Snow Badua of Spin.ph, the two teams are in hot pursuit of the ageless bigman after reviewing his performance with the San Miguel Beermen. It will be recalled that the Express signified their intention to acquire Taulava since the start of the Commissioner's Cup. However, the deal was put off the table after the Bolts nixed the deal that involves Noy Baclao and John Wilson. Air21 has allegedly put up the ante by including veteran point guard Mike Cortez in the deal that also involves the Bolts parting with Ronjay Buenafe and Jay-R Reyes.

The deal appears very lopsided in favor of the Express since they will be receiving the rights to Taulava, a potential sixth man material in Buenafe and a starting center in Reyes in exchange for two bench warmers and an aging point guard.

"Hinihintay lang namin sila. Ang tagal na nito, pero we'll be patient with them ... kung talagang gusto nila yung trade," said a source from Air 21 about the revised trade offer.

Meralco team manager Butch Antonio, for his part, admitted hearing about the trade offer but denied having direct knowledge about it.

He also said the Air21 offer is just one of several trade proposals floating around.

“Naririnig ko yun pero walang concrete. Andaming nakalutang (na proposal and balita) pero mahirap naming mag-usap kung wala pang confirmed eh,” said Antonio, who is also the manager of Gilas Pilipinas.

“Status quo pa kami sa Meralco,” Antonio added. "I still have to get the feedback from the coaching staff… nag meet pa lang sila nung Friday eh."

As for Ginebra's insterest in Taulava, the amiable team official said: "Hindi kami ang hihingi ng ipapalit kay Asi. They have to offer us saka kami sasagot. Sila ang may kailangan eh."

It was reported that the Bolts are interested in acquiring Kerby Raymundo from Ginebra for Taulava. Raymundo was a former player of coach Ryan Gregorio back when San Mig Coffee was still carrying the name Purefood.

"If I get a chance to back to the PBA, I'm cool with it," said Taulava. "Yup, it's a dream to play for Ginebra."

The veteran just center helped the Beermen booked their second straight ABL finals appearance after posting 15 points in the team's semifinals clincher over the Sports Rev Thailand Slammers last week.

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