Asi Taulava might be suiting up for the Smart-Gilas national developmental team to the Guangzhou Asian Games this November.
This after the management of Powerade agreed to loan the services of the 6-foot-9 Fil-Tongan for the second time.
Taulava reinforced the decimated national team aspirants in the tough Stankovic Cup where the Filipinos placed fourth. The fourth-place finish was enough to land the Philippines a spot in the Olympic-qualifying FIBA Asia Championship next year.
But JB Baylon, Powerade board governor in the Philippine Basketball Association, told GMANews.TV in an online interview that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ request to get the services of Taulava, a former PBA MVP, two-time MVP James Yap of B-Meg Derby Ace and 2008 MVP Kelly Williams, will need the league’s board approval.
“It still depends on the board," said Baylon.
The SBP, through its president Manny V. Pangilinan, wrote the PBA and requested the league to loan Taulava, Yap and Williams to the national developmental squad composed of some of the finest amateur cagers in the land.
Pangilinan was also the one who requested the PBA to allow Taulava to play for Smart-Gilas in the Stankovic Cup, which the league agreed.
But the PBA had already made an exit plan regarding its involvement in international basketball competitions. As a matter of fact, the league reverted to its original three-conference format starting its 36th season on October 3 and replace the existing two-conference, one season format.
“I believe the PBA had already made an exit plan, that’s why, the PBA which will now be headed by new commissioner Chito Salud, is now back to a three-conference format," said outgoing PBA commissioner Sonny Barrios.
“Also, the league’s main thrust in the coming 36th season is to improve the gate attendance. With some of the stars not seeing action, it might have an effect in gate attendance," added Barrios.
Williams is likely to be loaned by his mother team, Talk N Text, as the franchise is a sister company of Smart Communications under the Philippine Long Distance Telephone company.
But Yap’s availability hangs in the balance, not only for his team Derby Ace, but also because of the player's personal legal problems.
With Kerby Raymundo and Marc Pingris, two marquee players of the Llamados and key figures in the team’s drive to winning the Philippine Cup last season, Yap will be tasked to do much of the scoring load.
The 6-foot-2 reigning MVP is also mandated to attend hearings on his marital problems with estranged wife, popular television and movie personality Kris Aquino, youngest sister of President Noynoy Aquino. - GMANews.TV