After declining a two-year offer from Meralco, veteran Asi Taulava has reportedly signed to play for the San Miguel Beermen in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) starting next season.
According to sources, the 6-foot-9 Taulava, 39, agreed to a three-year deal to play for the Beermen, owned by San Miguel Corporation (SMC).
There were other offers for Taulava, known in the PBA as "The Rock", to play pro basketball abroad including China, Korea and Japan, but chose to stay home even though San Miguel travels a lot as the ABL uses a format of home-and-way venue.
Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio said yesterday that management did offer Taulava a two-year deal maximum deal worth P10.08 million, as well as an assurance that the Filipino-Tongan will have a life after basketball with the organization.
"It wasn't enough," said Gregorio.
"We did what we had to do to get Asi back. But he still went to a different direction." With Taulava's departure, Gregorio will now rely on the young players like Jason Ballesteros and Kelly Nabong, as well as veteran Jay-R Reyes.
The Bulletin tried to contact Taulava, but he did not answer calls and text messages.
In his twitter account @AsiTaulava5, he thanked and bid farewell to Meralco teammates Mac Cardona and Sol Mercado, to Gregorio and the company's top brass Manny V. Pangilinan and Ricky Vargas, and even to PBA Commissioner Chito Salud.
In his tweets, Taulava said:
"Thanks lil bro @CardonaMark n I enjoyed it as well. Will cherish our time 2gether n its ur time with @M3rcMyWords 2 lead da young1s brad."
"thanks lil homie. It was n honor 2 b on da floor w/ u n I will cherish it. Make me proud n take da guys 2 da finals bro."
"I just want 2 thank Boss MVP, Boss Vargas n management 4 everything dey have done 4 me n my family. Will always cherish my time w u guys."