By Marcus ChhanFollow @@MarcusChhan
On Wednesday, when the 40-year-old Fil-Tongan found out he had won the ASEAN Basketball League's (ABL) ASEAN MVP award, a "crazy feeling" started to set in Taulava's body.
Joy, shock, and a little bit of guilt too.
Taulava felt bad because his individual achievement had come at the expense of San Miguel team-mate Chris Banchero, who was also in the running for the top accolade.
That tells you all you need to know about the man affectionately known as ‘The Rock'. Looking out for his team-mates simply comes natural to the veteran.
"It's a crazy feeling. I wasn't expecting it [MVP title]. I was expected to just come in [this season] and help this team to win games and to try and get into the Finals and win it," he told FOX Sports.
"The ultimate goal is winning the Championship."
In total, five of the ABL's marquee ASEAN players were nominated by the league for the gong with Sports Rev Thailand Slammers' Froilan Baguion, Saigon Heat's Jai Reyes, and Indonesia Warriors' Mario Wuysang in contention along with Banchero and eventual winner Taulava.
Out of the group possibly San Miguel point-guard Banchero was the hot favourite to be named MVP on Wednesday given his impressive stat of 16 points per game in the regular season was above what Taulava (10.9ppg), Reyes (13.8ppg), Wuysang (11.9ppg), and Baguion (10.5ppg) managed in terms of scoring production alone - not including categories such as rebounding and assists where Banchero did not lead.
Banchero was key for Leo Austria's side as they turned around a 3-3 start to finish take top seeding for the Playoffs with a 19-3 record.
However, Banchero got hurt towards the end of the regular season and only made his full comeback in the post-season.
"You know there were some very worthy candidates that were in the running - the other four guys they all played exceptional the whole year, especially my team-mate [Banchero]," Taulava said.
"I feel bad for him because it was his award to lose, you know he went down with the injury and he was playing so well.
"Chris was unbelievable. He was instrumental in us starting our winning streak.
"I take my hat off to him, the way he carried himself and the way he conducted himself. He came in every day and worked it hard."
"I thought he was going to win it."
The selection process for the ASEAN MVP award began with ABL officials selecting nominees - players must have played at least 16 games to be eligible - based on statistics from the regular season. The list of nominees was then sent to each team where votes were then cast based on a ranking system which the ABL collated to determine the winner.
Taulava edged the 2013 ASEAN MVP voting by just four points ahead of two other contenders.
It remains unclear whether Banchero was one of the two unspecified runners-up in the voting process, but for the Taulava the close bond he shares with his team-mates makes the issue totally irrelevant.
"I don't think he is thinking about it [losing out on the MVP award] too hard," Taulava said.
"This award is for all of us. One person does not define this [San Miguel] team. Our ultimate goal is to win the championship."
He added: "We are real close all of us. We are very hard on one another."
"We talk to each other, we're brothers. We're not saying anything to offend you, but we will keep it real with you and tell you the truth and tell you things that you don't want to hear because I want you to do the same thing to me if you see me slacking."
Taulava's MVP renaissance in the ABL - he last won a similar award in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in 2003 - is likely to increase interest from teams in the country's pro league.
If he does return, the ABL would be a poorer place without him next season but for the moment the league is right to celebrate Taulava's professionalism and leadership with the MVP crown.