06 September 2013

Its Taulava for Cortez

Mike Cortez
A few minutes after their 82-76 conquest of Rain or Shine Elastopainters for their straight PBA Governors' Cup victory, there was a report that says the rights to 40-year old Asi Taulava was traded to Air21 Express in exchange for former top rookie pick, Mike Cortez.

It was also reported that this trade will lead to a couple of deals later that will involve Petron Boosters and Barangay Ginebra.

According to Bolts coach Ryan Gregorio, the papers for the trade were already forwarded to the PBA Commissioner's Office for approval.

It will be recalled that several teams wanted to get their hands on the aging 6-foot-9 behemoth, but the Bolts played hardball. With the games on the final stretch before the season ends, the Bolts expect Cortez to team up with Macmac Cardona, who just came off an injury, to stabilize the backcourt.

This will be Cortez's fifth team after stints with Alaska, Magnolia/San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra and Air21. A 10-year-veteran, he remains as one of the elite point guards in the league as he averages 9.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists in five games this conference.

Taulava, on the other hand, has been showing impressive performance as he tried to turn back the hands on time when he played in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) for the San Miguel Beermen. The former MVP is expected to provide leadership to the faltering Express (1-5) will play against Talk 'N Text on Friday the 13th.

Taulava, who spent most of his career with Mobiline/Talk ’N Text (1999-2008) before being traded to Coca-Cola (mid-season of 2008), will boost Air21’s frontline, which only has 6-foot-6 Carlo Sharma as its legitimate center, who also came from the Bolts in an earlier trade.

The avalanche of trades that follows are still sketchy, but it allegedly involves several players such as Ginebra's Kerby Raymundo, Boosters' Joseph Yeo, Express' Nelbert Omolon, Rob Reyes and James Sena, and even Bolts' Chris Ross and Mark Borboran were thrown in the trade mill.

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