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NLEX mulls trading unhappy Taulava
In this file photo, NLEX's Asi Taulava towers over Blackwater's Gilbert Bulawan (left) and Jason Ballesteros of Blackwater for an easy undergoal shot. | Jun Mendoza
MANILA, Philippines – The NLEX team management will evaluate things and see if they can work on a deal to grant Asi Taulava his wish to be traded on the heels of the Road Warriors' five-game slump, where he's confined on the bench.
Taulava expressed his desire to be traded in a meeting Wednesday with Manila North Tollways Corp. president Rod Franco, alternate representative of the NLEX ball club in the PBA board of governor.
The Fil-Tongan behemoth is also set to meet NLEX Road Warriors team manager Ronald Dolatre this afternoon.
"If that's his wish, the team will evaluate and assess things," Dolatre told The STAR.
"I have talked to coach Yeng Guiao, and that's also his initial reaction. Of course, it's hard to stop someone who wants to go. Pagpinigil mo, baka hindi rin lumaro ng maayos," Dolatre also said.
With a significant slash in his playing time under Guiao, Taulava is specifically wishing to be traded to GlobalPort under his old coach Franz Pumaren.
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GlobalPort and Blackwater were two teams that had expressed interest on Taulava earlier this year. The question is whether anyone of the two is still interested on the 43-year-old, 6-foot-8 player when both the Batang Pier and the Elite are doing well in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup.
Taulava started his playing career in the Philippines with Dioceldo Sy's team in the PBL.
"We're surprised with his wish now. Early on coming from an injury, all he wanted was to be of help in any way he can," said Dolatre of the veteran player who's finding it hard to cope with Guiao's run-and-gun style of play.
And with injuries to Rico Villanueva and Raul Soyud, the Road Warriors are now struggling badly, losing all their last five games after a winning season start versus the Alaska Milk Aces.
Taulava has just signed a new contract with the team.
"And he's well informed of our plan for him beyond his playing career," said Dolatre.