MANILA, Philippines - The signing of veteran star Asi Taulava to the San Miguel Beermen has created some buzz around the fledgling ASEAN Basketball League.
Pressed for comment, ABL's new chief executive officer Anthony Macri welcomed the move of the Fil-Tongan Taulava to the Southeast Asian-based league that will start its fourth season in January.
''Asi is a legend in the PBA for a good reason, his numbers speak for themselves and he will definitely make a strong impact in any league he plays in,'' Macri told the Bulletin in an e-mail.
Added Macri, ''His experience, talent, and leadership are certainly qualities that championship organizations look for.''
Taulava is perhaps the biggest Filipino star to enter the ABL since it was launched in 2009. The 6-foot-9 center, who suited up for Talk N' Text, Coca-Cola and Meralco, has been a multiple-time PBA Mythical Five member and a 2003 Most Valuable Player.
Taulava politely turned down a contract extension by Meralco and offers by a Chinese Basketball Association and two ABL teams to sign with the Beermen.
The obvious perks in his transfer are the once-a-week games that will help rest his 39-year-old body and travel to key cities in the region for road games.
With Taulava expected to be joined by Eric Menk after his final stint with Ginebra in the PBA Philippine Cup in teaming up with holdover Chris Banchero, SMB is already being groomed as title favorites for the 2013 ABL season.
The Beermen are seeking to rebound from a stunning finals loss to the Stanley Pringle-led Indonesia Warriors in June.