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Asi makes NLEX return

Asi Taulava will be making a return for NLEX in Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup starting tomorrow at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Interim coach Adonis Tierra yesterday confirmed that 49-year-old Taulava had been activated to provide grit, spunk and veteran experience to the Road Warriors.

His role in the rotation has yet to be determined, but he is expected to boost the Road Warriors, who are being hampered by injuries to key players like JR Quinahan, Philip Paniamogan and Anthony Semerad while Matt Nieto and Paul Varilla were previously placed under health protocols.

Varilla, however, was already cleared to join training while Nieto is expected to make it in time for the Road Warriors’ first game against their former coach, Yeng Guiao, and Rain or Shine on Friday.

Tierra said Taulava had already joined their training and he likes how he is performing.

“He’s looking good in training,” Tierra said.

“Of course, Asi had kept himself in tip-top shape and proved that he will be ready any time he gets a call-up.”

NLEX had long been wanting to give Taulava a fitting farewell to his decorated professional career.

The Filipino-Tongan, in fact, is the only player to emerge as Most Valuable Player in the PBA (2003) and Asean Basketball League (2013) and played for the national squad numerous times, the last was in the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018.

He led the TNT Tropang Giga to the Philippine Cup crown in 2003 and blossomed to become a 17-time All-Star and four-time Mythical First Team member, including in 2014 at the age of 41.

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