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Yeng pays tribute to Asi: Taulava’s character leaves lasting impression beyond the court

Asi Taulava is surely leaving a lasting imprint in the PBA but a former mentor in Yeng Guiao will always remember the iconic big man for his character.

While there’s no question whatsoever regarding the legacy he built, it’s the way he carried himself that endeared him so much to the champion coach.

“Aside from being a good player and leaving a legacy in the PBA, he’s a really nice person — actually he’s a nicer person, I think, than he is as a player,” the current Rain or Shine head think-tank told Tiebreaker Times.

Taulava is set to call it quits after over two decades, and NLEX will rightfully honor him with a jersey retirement ceremony on December 13 at halftime of their Commissioner’s Cup match versus TNT at the Philsports Arena.

It was with the Road Warriors where he spent his last eight seasons in the league and that, of course, included six with Guiao.

That marked a reunion of sorts between the two, having worked with one another for the Powerade Team Pilipinas in 2009 before an encore of sorts with Gilas Pilipinas Men in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

Guiao and Taulava did not win a championship together, but the straightforward mentor will always cherish the time they had.

“The time we spent together with Asi — with the national team, with NLEX — was precious and memorable,” said the seven-time titlist.

“Asi is really a character. He’s one guy that’s well-loved in the PBA,” he added.

“As rugged and as physical as he plays, the players don’t take it against him — they know that’s just his way of trying to make a contribution.”

Guiao believes, too, that Taulava will be as successful with whichever venture he’d take now that the 50-year-old is entering the next chapter of his life, but at the same thinks that he won’t be away from the game for so long.

#ReadMore  Yeng Guiao accepts job as Asian Games head coach

“I know he’s going to be successful in his next venture in life. And I don’t also think that he’s going to stray away from basketball, nandiyan pa rin naman suya and we’ll see each other around,” said the 64-year-old.

There’s only one thing Guiao wishes to have happened earlier, though.

“I was joking that kung naging player ko lang siya ng maaga, natutunan niya ng maaga ‘yung three-point shot, baka mga 70 years old siya mag-reretire,” he grinned.

Written By

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

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