MANILA, Philippines -- The NLEX Road Warriors have elevated Asi Taulava to its active roster ahead of the 2022 PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Interim coach Adonis Tierra confirmed the development as the Road Warriors continue to deal with injuries and sickness just a few days before the opening of the second conference.
Taulava, the oldest player in the PBA, will turn 50 in six months' time but is still expected to provide size and strength to the NLEX frontline. At the moment, the Road Warriors are dealing with injuries to JR Quiñahan, Anthony Semerad, and Philip Paniamogan.
They also recently lost Calvin Oftana and Raul Soyud in a controversial trade, although they gained a potential building block in former No. 1 overall pick Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser.
The Road Warriors had two players who were previously placed under health and safety protocols – Matt Nieto and Paul Varilla. Varilla, however, got the clearance to return and is now back in training, while Nieto is expected to come back in time for the team's first game against Rain or Shine, now being handled by the Road Warriors' previous coach, Yeng Guiao, on September 23.
For Tierra, the return of Taulava will be a big boost up front for the Road Warriors.
"Maganda ini-ensayo niya," said Tierra. "Of course, Asi had kept himself in tip-top shape and proved that he'll be ready any time he gets a call up."
NLEX has long been planning to give Taulava a fitting farewell to his already checkered career.
He is the only player to win an MVP in the PBA (2003) and Asean Basketball League (2013) while also serving the national team several times in major international competitions.
At the age of 41, he was able to make it to the Mythical First Team in 2014, proving that he can hold his own against younger players and over the past few years, he has been a part of the team as a reserve player.