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Taulava joins Meralco in 5-player, 3-team trade

September 22, 2010 7:00pm

Meralco, the youngest franchise in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), will have two of the league’s tallest and oldest frontliners in its squad – Marlou Aquino and Asi Taulava.

Yes, the two 6-foot-9 big men will now be sharing playing minutes every game for the Bolts after the league’s newest member agreed on a three-team, multi-player trade that involved Powerade, Barako Bull, forwards Jason Misolas, Ken Bono, Rob Reyes, and a 2013 second-round pick.

Taulava will team up with the explosive Mac-Mac Cardona in forming up the Bolts’ 1-2 punch.

The trade is expected to be finalized late Wednesday.

Taulava, who was earlier allowed by the PBA to join the RP-Smart Gilas national developmental team to the Asian Games this November, is headed back to a squad owned by businessman/sportsman Manny V. Pangilinan.
Asi Taulava (shown in this file photo playing for Coca-Cola) will become the main man up front of the Meralco Bolts. GMANews.TV
Taulava played for Mobiline/Talk N Text from 1999 until the 2007-2008 PBA season when he was traded to the Coca-Cola Tigers in exchange for Ali Peek.

Reyes, a young 6-foot-5 forward, will go to the Tigers together with the 2013 second-round pick.

The Energy Boosters, who acted as conduit, will get Misolas and Bono.

“Rob (Reyes) is not the player whom we expect to fill up the spot vacated by Asi, but at least this is a step towards rebuilding for the future. I see good potential in Rob. We may be a step backwards right now, but I’m sure we will be few steps forward in the future," Perasol told GMANews.TV.

Meralco team manager Virgil Villavicencio said in a telephone interview he doesn’t have any knowledge on the details of the recent trade, but confirmed that the squad has indeed acquired Taulava.

“It’s management to management. I’m not aware of the details of the transaction," said Villavicencio.

But a highly-placed source who is privy to the matter said the move was made to immediately bolster the team’s frontline.

“The good thing about this trade is it doesn’t take away anything from Meralco’s future," said the source, who requested anonymity. “No future pick is involved in the transaction, while it will answer an immediate need as far as shoring up their frontline is concerned. In reality, both Asi and Marlou can still help the squad. In the NBA, the frontliners are still playing even in their 40s, for example, Dikembe Mutombo. Shaq (O’Neal) is nearing 40, yet is still an asset to any team."

The 37-year-old Taulava, who won the Most Valuable Player award in 2002, is still the PBA’s leading rebounder, averaging 11.4 caroms per game while also norming 11.2 points.

Barako Bull coach Junel Baculi was a little disappointed upon learning that Reyes was one of the players involved in the trade.

“He’s been doing pretty good and he has shown improvement," said Baculi of his ward. “We’ve established some sort of chemistry in our team’s practices, then all of a sudden, the player is no longer part of your team anymore. But what can we do? Such things happen in the PBA."

Last season, Reyes averaged 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. – KY/JVP, GMANews.TV
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