Asi Taulava has come full circle with the Ravenas.
After teaming up with Bong in Mobiline from 2000 to 2005, the 44-year-old center now finds himself partnering with the latter’s son Kiefer in NLEX.
He has been a witness to the growth of the younger Ravena from an aspiring baller back in grade school to the second overall in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft and the Fil-Tongan slotman has no doubt that the 24-year-old guard is more than ready to shine in the pro league.
“He’s got the whole package. He’s not called The Phenom for no reason,” said Taulava.
“Kief knows how to figure the game out. He’s more mature and he’s been PBA-ready since he left college. He wanted to try different avenues and try to make it to the NBA. Though he fell short in his dream, he’s always had the PBA to fall back on. Philippine basketball is so excited to have him back with the younger generation.”
It’s an amusing anecdote about Taulava’s career.
Back then, he was backing down foes in the paint and kicking the ball out to Bong, who is as one of the league’s dead-eye shooters of the past decade. Fast forward to now and he’s the one shooting the three-ball, going on pick-and-pop schemes with Kiefer.
“Coach Yeng (Guiao) wants us to pick-and-pop,” Taulava said. “The mileage, running out there, banging bodies with these young guys — I can do that when I was younger. But now, I gotta be smarter. I got to pick and choose when I wanna pop and when I attack off the dribble. At the same time, we gotta keep the floor spread for Kiefer and Kevin (Alas) so that way, they can attack.”
But as the team’s eldest statesman, Taulava is just happy to get a front row seat on the development of NLEX’s young guys, especially Ravena and Alas.
“It’s the younger generation’s time. I’m excited for Kief. I wanna see Kief and Kev on the floor at the same time, especially with our offense. Our bread and butter is the pick and roll and I’m kinda excited for that,” he said.
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