Feb 11, 2019

After 20 seasons in the PBA, Asi Taulava says retirement not far behind

NLEX center Asi Taulava has no regret at how his PBA career turned out as he reflected on his first PBA game 20 years ago.

Taulava started his career with fireworks on Feb. 7, 1999. Sporting a blond hairdo, he dropped 32 points, grabbed 20 rebounds, dished eight assists and had two blocks to lead Mobiline to a 90-64 trashing of the Eric Menk-led Tanduay Rhum in the season opening All-Filipino Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

The 45-year-old has since relished memorable victoeries, endured heartbreaking defeats and withstood several controversy during a colorful career spanning two decades that included stops at Coca-Cola, Meralco, Air21 and currently with NLEX.

"It's been a great 20 years," Taulava said. "A lot of great memories, a lot of bad memories and I won't turn it for the world."

This season made Taulava the fourth player in PBA history to play a least 20 seasons, joining Robert Jaworski, Ramon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben.

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All three played during the PBA's inaugural season in 1975. Fernandez called it quits in 1994, Guidaben ended his career in 1995 and Jaworski appeared in his final season in 1998.

Taulava, who is averaging 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in three games this conference, admitted that retirement is not far behind.

"It's on its way, the door is getting closer," he said.

The after celebrating his 20th anniversary, he scored two points and cornered two rebounds in for NLEX in an 83-82 loss to Phoenix at the Mall of Asia Arena. (JT)