by Waylon Galvez
Manila, Philippines – It was in 2004 when a young Greg Slaughter first saw Asi Taulava play during the PBA All-Star Game in his hometown Cebu. At that time, the 6-foot-9 Taulava was the reigning Most Valuable Player of the pro league.
Now, the 6-foot-11 rookie of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel gets a chance to test the strength of the player known as the “Rock”.
“He was the first person I saw from the PBA when I saw him in Cebu All-Star Game in 2004,” said the 25-year old Slaughter, who watched the game during a vacation in the Queen City of the South to visit his relatives.
“I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to play versus him. I’m very excited that I’m going to get a chance to play versus Asi,” added Slaughter.
Ginebra is on a roll again, but that doesn’t mean things will be easy when the streaking Kings take on Taulava and the Air21 Express in the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup today at Mall of Asia Arena.
The game between the Kings and the Express is scheduled at 5:45 p.m., before the 8 p.m. encounter between Meralco and Alaska.
Last week, the 14-year veteran Taulava battled Petron Blaze’s 6-foot-10 sophomore June Mar Fajardo, the No. 1 overall in 2012. Fajardo and the Boosters won the game (90-88) but Taulava’s numbers were better with 16 points and 18 rebounds as to the former’s 13/16.
Taulava is averaging just a shade below 10 points per game this conference but is No. 2 in the rebounding department with 12.5, behind Fajardo’s 17.4 boards and ahead of Slaughter’s 10.4 rebounds per game.
The two were together two years ago when Taulava was tabbed to reinforce the original Smart Gilas Pilipinas, where Slaughter was a member of the national pool for the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship in Wuhan,
Ginebra is fresh from back-to-back victories, beating defending three-time champion Talk ’N Text following a game-winning 3-point shot by Japeth Aguilar, 97-95, last Dec. 8, and surviving a pesky Barako Bull side in an 85-79 triumph last Friday.
According to Ginebra head coach Ato Agustin, their latest win opposite Air21 proved that the competition is tough even against teams at the bottom of the standings.