TAULAVA IN RECORD 13TH ALL-STAR GAME?
Fifteen-year PBA veteran Asi Taulava has achieved numerous personal milestones, and is on line for another one in the 2014 PBA All-Star Week set April 3-6 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City
If ever, the Fil-Tongan behemoth, the oldest active player in the local pro league at 40, would break the record he currently shares with four-time MVP winner Alvin Patrimonio – the two players with the most number of All-Star participation with 12 each.
The league is holding part II of Gilas Pilipinas versus PBA All Stars in the annual All-Star Game which will be played in Manila for the first time in five years.
And for the first time in 11 years, the entire All-Star Week festivities will be held in the Big City, hosted by the Mall of Asia Arena.
Taulava is a contender for the All-Star team taking on the FIBA World Cup-bound national team of coach Chot Reyes.
Last year in Digos City, Gilas’ Jeff Chan and the All-Stars’ Arwind Santos shared MVP honors after the game ended in a 124-all standoff on Chan’s buzzer-beating three-pointer.
If Reyes sticks with his original Gilas team, Taulava, Greg Slaughter, Santos, Mark Barroca, James Yap and Mark Caguioa are tipped to banner the PBA All Stars.
Other active PBA players with a big number of participations in the annual mid-season spectacle are Dondon Hontiveros (11), Yap (10), Jimmy Alapag (9), Eric Menk (9), Willie Miller (9), Sonny Thoss (9), Jayjay Helterbrand (7), Danny Ildefonso (7), Marc Pingris (7) and Rico Villanueva (7).
The league has started the fan balloting for the All-Star festivities that again feature the Legends Game and All-Star side events including the three-point shootout, the slam-dunk contest and the obstacle challenge.
There will also be outreach programs including hospital visits and free basketball/coaching clinics.
Another highlight is a street party where PBA players mingle with the fans around the MOA Arena.
Though already turning 41 on March 2, Taulava is still a major force, leading all players in minutes played in the current Philippine Cup with 37.86 minutes an outing.
In the elimination round, Taulava was one of a few who averaged double-double numbers, putting in a league second best 14.36 rebounds and third team best 13.21 points per game. (SB)
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