NLEX is one of the three youngest franchises in the PBA today. But the team has the oldest player in the league in Asi Taulava, who at 41 years old, has shown everyone that he could compete against the younger, bigger players in the league.
Then there’s Enrico Villanueva, a veteran frontliner on a come-back mission, who is on his way to full recovery after injuring his knee last season.The two were named co-captains of the Road Warriors for this season’s campaign.
On Friday’s loss to sister team Talk N Text, the Tropang Texters came up with a solid game plan of limiting Taulava, who was silenced for 12 points. Taulava hardly saw action in the second half as Villanueva was having a solid game. Villanueva contributed 10 markers and played a more significant role against the Tropang Texters. The two had yet to play alongside each other as Villanueva’s role is to relieve Taulava, but the man called “The Rock” hopes they can co-exist inside the court. “He played really well. Coach right now is putting us out there, we’re mixing it up. He’s got two different bigs. I’m really happy for Enrico, who’s improving. Our roles are different, but we’re both veterans. That’s why we’re co-captains,” Taulava told Tiebreaker Times in an exclusive interview. “It would be nice for us playing together out there. You’re seeing two dinosaurs, so it’s up to the coach.”
Head coach Boyet Fernandez told sportswriters that he has yet to try the combination of Taulava and Villanueva, but is open to the idea of doing so in future games. “Enrico is doing great with his therapy. He’s getting back to his old self. Hopefully, he can be a tandem with Asi in the future. Right now, labas pasok pa rin sila, but eventually, they will play together.”