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Asi Taulava ends PBA career where it all began: Philsports Arena holds the poetic farewell

It couldn’t get any more poetic for Asi Taulava.

The sure-fire Hall of Famer on Wednesday finished his PBA career at the same venue where he started his journey as a pro: the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

“It was a fitting story-book ending to my career,” he said.

Taulava made his PBA debut on February 7, 1999 in the All-Filipino Cup opener, where his Mobiline lost to Eric Menk and Tanduay, 90-64.

“I played here in Philsports versus Tanduay, my very first PBA game,” recalled the 50-year-old, who was directly hired by the Phone Pals.

Twenty-four years later, he found himself back in the arena formerly known as ULTRA for his final game, when NLEX battled his former team TNT.

Taulava didn’t have the exit he hoped for after the Road Warriors lost, 113-97, but to retire in a place that means so much to him more than makes up for it.

“It’s very suiting just to play here and finish off. Can’t ask for anything more,” said the 2003 league MVP, who ended his career after a record 24 seasons.

“Thank you to Comm Willie (PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial) for giving me this chance to retire here in the PBA, especially here at Philsports,” he added.

Now that he has called quits on an illustrious career, Taulava will still be as busy — he might even be busier — because of his various commitments.

He’s leaving, too, with zero regrets, although there’s one thing that he’d miss, the 50-year-old feels, now that he won’t be playing anymore.

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“One thing that I’d probably miss out on this PBA journey is the brotherhood,” said Taulava. “Twenty-four years, you get to meet a lot of guys.

“But the brotherhood is there. Every time you see them, have a great talk, invite each other for dinner, or some kid’s birthday party. Any get-together, that’s the best thing.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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