Asi hints retirement

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ASI Taulava of NLEX pulls down the rebound in this piece of action during the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup. The Filipino-Tongan slotman raised the idea of retiring following the 44th season of the PBA. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Asi Taulava hinted at calling it quits after the 44th season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

The 45-year old veteran said this could be his last hurrah following a celebrated 20-year professional journey dotted with a handful of titles, professional milestones, international tourneys and All-Star appearances.

“I’m thinking that this may be my last year,” said the Filipino-Tongan slotman who was a direct hire of Talk ‘N Text back in 1999.

“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.”

Should the 6-foot-9 Taulava hang his jersey for good, he’s more than contented and happy to exit the hardwood following a very colorful career.

Taulava was also the longest tenured national team player in PBA history after competing in the 2002 Asian Games in South Korea until last year when he donned national colors for one last time in the same tourney in Indonesia.

“If this is my final year, I just want to enjoy it. I want to 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 and hang out with the older guys,’ that’s still great,” he added.

“It’s a win-win situation for me. I’ve enjoyed this ride.”

Taulava will be surely in an exclusive company after this year, joining league greats Abet Guidaben, Ramon Fernandez and Robert Jaworski, who have played for 20 or more seasons in the PBA.

“I think only four players in the PBA have lasted for 20 years. I can’t believe I got here,” said Taulava, who outlasted fellow teammate Jimmy Alapag in terms of longevity.

“I’m just going to enjoy my season, don’t put any pressure on myself. I’m going to let it take my course.”

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