Outside of a sudden change of heart, the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup will be the last ride of decorated veterans Asi Taulava and Cyrus Baguio.
And should it really be their final hurrah in the league where they were once among its marquee names, Kiefer Ravena and NLEX look to make the most out of the time they have with them.
“They bring so much more to the table than what they can bring on the court — in terms of experience, in terms of knowledge, in terms of their ability to still hoop and play at a high level.
“‘Yun siguro ‘yung kailangan namin ma-take advantage since it’s their last conference,” Ravena said.
For the incoming third-year point guard, he expects the many-time All-Stars to give it their all this conference. So now, it’s on him and the younger Road Warriors to match their efforts.
“Pupukpok na ‘yan. They will never hold back anymore,” Ravena said. “‘Yung mga games na they might face this team the last time in their careers, talagang pupukpok na ‘yang mga ‘yan.
“So we have to match the intensity they’re going to put in day in day out. It’s our way of respecting their legacies, their contributions to the PBA, to the game, to the younger generation of players.”
So for the whole Road Warriors, they will find further motivation for the all-Filipino tilt that opens March 1 in doing the best they can to give Taulava and Baguio the sendoff they deserve.
The 46-year-old Taulava had actually thought of hanging up his sneakers for good after last season. But he just did not want to end his illustrious career in such a heartbreaking manner.
Taulava and NLEX clinched the top seed in the 2019 Governors’ Cup eliminations for a twice-to-beat edge in the quarters — until Christian Standhardinger and NorthPort Batang Pier blew it.
On the other hand, Baguio, who’s entering his 17th season, would want to have one last crack in Philippine Cup glory. The 39-year-old guard has not won an All-Filipino championship.
“Hopefully we — if ever it’s really their last conference — we want to end it on a high note to finish as far as we can. And hopefully, win a championship.”