Asi Taulava will sign a three-year contract extension with Air 21; Coach Pumaren shuts down trade rumors for "The Rock"

Asi Taulava is considered as the best big man in his generation and at age 41, "The Rock" has shown that he still has enough tank to play with the young generations in the ongoing PLDT Home TVolution Commissioner’s Cup.

The veteran Taulava remains one of the most sought after big men in the PBA.

Three-Year Contract Extension

With how he still can cope up with the young big men of the league, Air 21 have plans for him.
And because of his value, the Air21 big man is being eyed by at least two pro teams, although his agent made it clear Taulava is happy with the Express and is in talks for a three-year extension that would keep him in the league until he's 44.
“May mga interesado sa kanya. Pero sa ngayon, walang balak si Boss Lito (Alvarez, Air21 governor) na pakawalan siya,” said a source, who revealed keen interest from San Miguel Beer and Meralco.
Interestingly, Taulava played for San Miguel in the Asean Basketball League while Meralco was the team that sent the evergreen 6-9 slotman in a trade to Air21.
However, the Air21 source said Taulava is attracting renewed interest from teams which need a major presence in the middle when the import height limit goes back to 6-5 for the Governors Cup. 
“Next conference kasi babalik sa 6-5 ang import. Kaya malamang karamihan sa mga teams nag-fo-focus ulit sa paghahanap ng big man,” said the source.
Taulava’s agent, Sheryl Reyes,said Taulava is right now leaning toward staying at Air 21.
“Wala eh (feelers ngayon). Air 21 pa rin kami. And we’re happy how he is being treated there,” said Reyes, who bared that Taulava’s contract with Air 21 will expire on August.
“Yung contract negotiation namin dito is long term, three years. Saka may plan for him ang Lina Group of Companies when he retires. We’re looking at security of tenure,” she added.
Still, Reyes said nothing is etched in stone.
“Right now, willing sila (Air 21) to give him three years of playing contract. That’s the best situation for Asi. And with his self-discipline, I believe Asi can still play at the same level,” said the outspoken female agent.
“But at the end of the day it is still up to the decision of Air 21, if he will stay or leave."

Trading Taulava

And in a different report, Air21 coach Franz Pumaren revealed that he won't trade the ageless big man.

“Definitely (we will not trade him),” Pumaren told shortly before the team’s Tuesday practice at the Gatorade Hoops Center. 

“Sinasabi ko nga na he’s the same Asi, but modesty aside, our coaching staff just knows how to use him and maximize his strengths.”
Pumaren emphasized the value of Taulava, the oldest player in the league at 41 who still plays with a youthful zest and provides the Express with solid numbers on a nightly basis.
“Asi is the foundation of this team. For one, the standard of every team today is at least to have one six-foot-seven player. And for us, we got a big, agile big man in Asi,” added the Air21 mentor, whose team faces San Mig Super Coffee on Wednesday on a crucial Commissioner’s Cup match.
Taulava's Career
A former PBA MVP, Taulava has been experiencing a career resurgence since returning to the PBA late last year.  
Prior to his PBA return, Taulava played one season for the Asean Basketball League (ABL), where he emerged as the season’s MVP while leading the San Miguel Beermen to the regional title.
Pumaren noted that Taulava’s resurgence has a lot to do with the 15-year veteran center’s strict physical regimen.
“Despite Asi’s age, he plays on a consistent basis. Stats don’t lie.  Asi is a great competitor. And for us, we just know to use him and not exploit him,” explained Pumaren.
Taulava, who joined the PBA in 1999 as Mobiline’s (now Talk ‘N Text’s) direct-hire player, averages 13.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, and one assist in 33.5 minutes in the import-spiced conference.
With how Taulava is playing recently, expect the Express to keep him because of his leadership and value for the team.
--- with reports from

Asi Taulava will sign a three-year contract extension with Air 21; Coach Pumaren shuts down trade rumors for "The Rock" Asi Taulava will sign a three-year contract extension with Air 21; Coach Pumaren shuts down trade rumors for "The Rock" Reviewed by Jay-R Bayon-on on 4/09/2014 Rating: 5

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