As Asi Taulava enters his 18th season in the PBA, the Fil-Tongan big man won’t demand the same playing time he’s had over the last two seasons under new NLEX coach Yeng Guiao.
At 43, the 6-10 evergreen slot man knows he’s not as quick as he used to be. In fact, he believes he can be a liability if he stays at a prolonged period of time on the floor due to the fast-paced offense Guiao wants to employ with the Road Warriors.
“I can’t complain because in practice, the way he (Guiao) wants you to play, he wants you to play hard when we’re in the game. I don’t think I will last 10 minutes going hard at that (fast) pace coz it’s more of running system now,” Taulava told FOX Sports following Sunday’s PBA Rookie Draft.
Taulava played 32 minutes on an average for the past two seasons under erstwhile coach Boyet Fernandez as NLEX relied heavily on the veteran slot man.
But with Guiao coming in to replace Fernandez for the 42nd PBA season, Taulava’s playing time is expected to drop drastically as the fiery mentor tries to spread the minutes among his bench players.
“When you’re on the floor, you gotta be able to run and do everything he’s making you to do,” he said. “And if I’m doing that, I think being on the floor for a long period of time can be a disadvantage for us so when I get in there, whatever minutes he gives me, I’ll just go hard, get you a sub, go to the bench and rest and at the same time, it can prolong my career. I can play who knows.”
Taulava has high hopes that the Road Warriors will figure in the semifinals once they start embracing Guiao’s system, owing to the veteran coach’s ability to draw the best from his players.
In fact, before leaving Rain or Shine, Guiao transformed the Asian Coating franchise to a perennial title contender, including a 2016 Commissioner’s Cup championship.
“He’s taken every team he has coached in the Finals, especially with the success he had with Rain or Shine, and that’s something I’ve been chasing the past few years, try to be consistent and be in the top 4 and play in the championship,” stressed Taulava. – Richard Dy
Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava