Taulava stint with Pinoy quintet this year his last

source: Noli Cortez | malaya.com.ph

BORACAY – Asi Taulava’s current stint with the national team will be his last.

So said the 38-year-old Fil-Tongan center on Thursday, saying the bump and grind of daily practice and actual participation in international tournaments are catching up to him, adding he wants to devote the rest of his playing career with his Meralco team in the PBA.

I’m feeling my age and this is definitely my last national team,” said Taulava, who has played with national teams since 2002. He has been tapped anew to reinforce the Smart-Gilas squad gearing up for tournaments culminating in September’s FIBA-Asia tournament in China.

“I can’t imagine myself playing for my mother team and the national team until I’m 40. I mean, really, who was the last guy to be playing for the national team while he was 38, 40 years old?” added the slotman, who started his PBA career with Mobiline in 1998.

According to Taulava, his probable successors should include Alaska’s Sonny Thoss and San Miguel Beer’s Rabeh Al-Hussaini, who are also participating in the PBA All-Star Weekend in this island resort.

“They are among the best centers we have right now and they should also be given the privilege to wear the Philippine colors,” said Taulava.

First, he stressed, they must be ready to sacrifice.

“Sometimes, you have twice-a-day practices with the national team. Add that to your practices with your mother team and you can have a regular five-hour day. Easy,” he pointed out.

“And that’s only in-between conferences. When the conference is on, you also have to contend with at least a two-hour game.”

Taulava, the 2003 MVP, also played for the national team in the 2005 Jones Cup, the 2007 and 2009 FIBA-Asia tournaments and last year’s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

Aside from Taulava, also reinforcing Gilas are Air21’s Dondon Hontiveros and Talk N Text’s Jimmy Alapag and Kelly Williams.

As a lead-up to the September regional qualifying for next year’s London Olympics, the Nationals are also set to compete in the FIBA-Asia Champions Cup set to start on May 28 and the Jones Cup in August.

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tags: Asi Taulava, Smart Gilas, Fiba Asia

Asiad: Toroman to request PBA for Yap, Williams, Asi

source: Ronnie Nathanielsz | inquirer.net

Buoyed by the excellent showing of a depleted Smart Gilas Pilipinas five in the recent Fiba Asia Stankovic Cup in Beirut, national coach Rajko Toroman plans to request the PBA for two key players to join Kelly Williams in the Asian Games lineup.

In an interview with the Inquirer after a two-hour practice Thursday at the Ynares Center, Toroman said he would like to strengthen the team with shooting star James Yap, this year’s PBA Most Valuable Player, and Coca-Cola big man Asi Taulava, a last-minute reinforcement for the RP five in the Stankovic Cup.

Williams’ place in the RP five was secured early this year when he was traded to Talk ‘N Text by Sta. Lucia.

Talk ‘N Text is owned by business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, who is also the president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, which bankrolls the campaign of Smart Gilas.

However, PBA board chair Rene Pardo said no formal request had been submitted to the PBA and the league only learned of the Smart Gilas requests through the media.

Pardo said he would take up the issue at the next board meeting, stressing that “we want to set up clear-cut rules and guidelines” regarding the lending of PBA players to the national team.

The PBA chair said Taulava’s Stankovic Cup stint was approved since the Tigers had been eliminated by the time the Beirut tournament started.

Pardo said the Asian Games will coincide with the opening of the All-Filipino Conference and that the absence of Yap, Williams and Taulava may affect the performance of their respective PBA teams.

Toroman said he plans to announce the Asian Games lineup within 10 days.

Toroman said he had been “looking at Ryan Reyes from the beginning, but not anymore because his wife will give birth and he wants to be near her in the middle of November during the Asian Games.”

He added that Sol Mercado, a big point guard who likes the open court and is a great finisher, was a prospect he had to drop after the cager suffered a stress fracture in the PBA playoffs.
Toroman said Yap is “one of the options” and he has already told manager Frankie Lim that “Yap wants to play.”

“I want Chris Tiu and James Yap to play together. They’ll make a unit and everybody will cheer for our team, and that will be very, very strong.”



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Smart Gilas gets Asi, but loses Japeth

Asi Taulava is in, but Japeth Aguilar is out. This was the mixed development that hardly lifted the spirits of the short-handed Smart Gilas Pilipinas five when it left for Beirut Thursday night to compete in the 2010 Fiba Asia Stankovic Cup set to start this Saturday.

A change of heart by Coca-Cola paved the way for Taulava’s stint with the RP five. The joy, however, was short-lived after a freak accident all but took Aguilar out of the tough competition ending on Aug. 15.

Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman said Aguilar sustained a long, nasty cut on the left leg that required 22 stitches after the 6-foot-9 former US NCAA player, tripped over a broken glass door in his house.

“We’re going into the tournament with so many problems,” said Toroman. “But we’re going there to win games, not to lose.”

Taulava, a vital cog in the RP squad made up of PBA stars in the 2002 Busan Asian Games and the past two Asian championships, will leave for Beirut Friday in time for the team’s opening game against host Lebanon Saturday.

“Asi can help us, he’s an experienced player and a tough guy,” said Toroman, adding that Taulava practiced with the team for a week.

Seven-footer Greg Slaughter is to follow the team Saturday after he was allowed to take a leave from his school commitments.

Smart Gilas will miss the services of naturalization candidate Marcus Douthit, Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Chris Lutz.

by June Navarro | inquirer.net