Not chasing Jawo, Asi Taulava might play last PBA season

MANILA, Philippines – The upcoming 44th PBA season might be Asi Taulava's last. 

Turning 46 in March, Taulava bared that he considers hanging up his spurs at the end of the season, which will be the 20th of a storied career that saw him win a championship and a Most Valuable Player award in 2003. 

"No. I'm thinking that this may be my last year," he said when asked if he's chasing the record of Robert Jaworski, who played in the PBA until 52, during the league's first Media Day at the Solaire The Tent on Thursday, January 10. 

"I wanted to get to 20 and see where it goes from here. Let's see after everything if this will be my final year, if it's meant to be, this may be my final year, my swan song." 

The league's oldest active player, though, isn't closing the doors on the possibility of returning for another year for NLEX. 

"I just want to enjoy it, play my tail off if my body can still go for another year. But if my body tells me, 'Asi, it's time to sit your butt now,' hang out with the older guys, that's still great. It's a win-win situation for me," he added. 

"I've enjoyed this ride. Not too many players, I think only 4 players in the PBA have lasted for 20 years. I can't believe I got here, especially with my lifestyle in the past." 

Although used sparingly in recent seasons, Taulava looks to contribute by imparting his knowledge of the game to the Road Warriors' new acquisitions, particularly Poy Erram, who was shipped from Blackwater in the offseason. 

It helps that the two slotmen have a history back when they donned the national colors together in the 2018 Asian Games. 

"He has worked so hard. One of the first guys to go to the gym, try to beat us, and one of the last guys to leave. He's always working. That's the most important thing you want to see from a young guy," Taulava said of Erram. 

Taulava and NLEX open their season against Rain or Shine on January 18 at the Cuneta Astrodome.


Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.