Air21's Asi Taulava drives against GlobalPort's Dior Lowhorn. Photo by Nuki Sabio, PBA IMAGES
MANILA, Philippines – Despite sporting a nasty gash above his left eye, Asi Taulava fought on and helped Air21 Express defeat GlobalPort, 106-102, in the PBA Governors' Cup on Wednesday.
The big man finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds, despite getting hit with a wayward elbow from GlobalPort import Dior Lowhorn in the second quarter.
“We can’t afford to lose this game. After the game, then we can go to the hospital,” Taulava said in the league’s official website.
It was a crucial game indeed for Air21, which improved to a 5-3 record and remained in the fight for the Top 4 spot.
The top 4 seeded teams will each get a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals.
Dominique Sutton came up with a double-double effort for Air21 by scoring 28 points and nabbing 20 rebounds.
Taulava bled profusely after getting cut in the first half. He had it taped so he could return in the third quarter, but the cut opened again.
“I was ready to bite the bullet already knowing the gladiator in him. He told me during half-time that he just had the first aid thing that closed the wound for a while and he can come back. He wanted to finish this,” Air21 coach Franz Pumaren said.
“I guess [the win] compensated what happened to Asi. I think he’ll be getting at least seven to ten stitches, but I think this game was really meant for us.”
The loss dashed the Batang Pier's(1-7) playoffs hopes.
It also ruined Lowhorn’s 35-point, 10-rebound effort for the Batang Pier, who are now out of contention.
Alex Cabagnot had 19 points, 10 assists, and 8 boards for GlobalPort, which also got 19 from Jay Washington.
Air21 106 – Sutton 28, Taulava 17, J. Villanueva 15, Yeo 13, Ramos 8, Atkins 6, Borboran 5, Poligrates 4, Cardona 4, E. Villanueva 2, Burtscher 2, Camson 2, Menor 0.
GlobalPort 102 – Lowhorn 35, Cabagnot 19, Washington 19, Buenafe 16, Romeo 7, Macapagal 4, Menk 2, Yee 0, Lingganay 0, Hayes 0, Salvador 0, Garcia 0, Acuña 0.
Quarterscores: 29-20, 55-47, 78-75, 106-102.