Taulava, Banchero eye PBA

JAKARTA - The success of the San Miguel Beermen in the ASEAN Basketball League has revived the careers of several ex-PBA players, notably former MVP Asi Taulava.

Even before the ABL finals started, the 6-foot-9 Taulava is already setting his sights of playing for Ginebra - the most popular PBA team - before finally retiring.

But Taulava may have to wait a little longer since his rights still belongs to the Meralco Bolts.
Trade proposals have also swirled since Taulava's renewed form and many consider "The Rock" to deliver the same amount of energy in the PBA.

"Every basketball player in Manila dreams of playing for Ginebra and I happened to be one of them, and I want to fulfill that opportunity," said Taulava. "But I also have to show respect to my mother club which has my rights and just hope for the best."

As for Chris Banchero, named Finals MVP and a runner-up to Taulava in the ABL MVP race, he is still ineligible to join the draft because of rules for Fil-Ams to play first in the PBA D-League.

But the Fil-Italian from Seattle is eying a spot in the D-League when the Aspirants Cup opens in October. Foundation Cup champion Blackwater Sports could be his possible destination before he returns for the Beermen's ABL title defense in 2014.

"I can't wait to play in the PBA," Banchero said. "I mean, I love the ABL and I love representing the Philippines but the PBA is the place to be."

Even coach Leo Austria is being eyed to make a return to the pro league.

Petron is undergoing a "re-organization" and the former PBA Rookie of the Year may end up handling the chores at the San Miguel Corporation's top franchise.

SMC head for basketball operations and PBA chairman Robert Non, who was here to support the team, however, declined to comment elaborately although he believes Austria is a PBA material.

Austria, who coached Shell and Welcoat in the previous decade, is currently under contract with Adamson in the UAAP but it is set to expire in October or after the collegiate season.

Other key players like Val Acuna and Paolo Hubalde are also being eyed for possible return to the PBA while point guard Jerick Canada and JR Cawaling are likely to apply for the draft.

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