Known as the “Rock” or the “Man Lava” in the PBA, Asi Taulava hinted that their current group will be no longer called as Gilas Pilipinas but rather as Team Pilipinas.
The 2003 PBA Most Valuable Player explained the difference of coach Yeng Guiao current group compared to the earlier Philippines basketball squad.
“First of all, I wanna correct that. This is coach Yeng’s time. Under coach Yeng’s time, we want to be known as Team Pilipinas,” he said.
Probably because of that July’s brawl which involved Gilas Pilipinas and team Australia, Taulava wanted to reboot the image of the national team and to start by changing its moniker in the international stage.
“You know Gilas, that’s in the past. It’s time to change the image of Philippine basketball. We want to go away with those moniker names and things like that,” he said.
The 45-year-old center who’s part of the NLEX Road Warriors sees that coach Yeng Guiao is the biggest factor for the transformation of the Philippines basketball squad. Taulava cited that having a perfect attendance during the team’s three days practice is the proof.
Likewise, he sees that coach Yeng is the cog to make the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the PBA and the players work together and shows willingness to carry the national flag in FIBA.
“Everybody that came into this group, it’s because coach Yeng asked. Coach Yeng wants to do something special. We want to help him and do whatever we can do to qualify for the next round,” Asi said.
“As far as everything else, we want to play for coach Yeng. As you can see, complete attendance again for the third straight day,” the 19-year veteran big-man added.
To make his argument much more stronger, Asi turned the hands of time as he shared his experiences during the 2002 Asian Games. That squad was spearheaded by coach Jong Uichico along with the PBA selections.
That was also the first time that Taulava wear the jersey of the team Philippines. Most likely, one of his unforgettable memories from that tournament is guarding China’s Yao Ming.
“Last time I saw something like this was back in 2002, when all the players that were asked for were there. It’s been so long, but this is great for Philippine basketball. One man that can unite all the big bodies in the PBA – the board, the SBP, and that’s coach Yeng.”
Once again, the Fil-Tongan wanted to remind us that we have something new to cheer this upcoming FIBA game first scheduled in Iran then back here against Qatar.
“Remember, we’re Team Pilipinas!”