NEW, IMPROVED ASI | Taulava discovers new weapon for Asiad campaign

JAKARTA — You normally hear and read it from a detergent soap, soft drinks or any other brand that is being fortified, but Asi Taulava is like a new and improved player.

At 45, Taulava is still rocking and making heads turn with his rejuvenated game capped by a new weapon — three-point shooting.

Gone are the days when we see Taulava pounding his way inside and using his bulk inside. Now, he’s a completely changed player as he would find ways to knock down shots from beyond the arc and become the national team’s latest stretch five cager.

Taulava chose to shoot a lot more from the perimeter not because he feels like doing it.

With younger, faster, stronger and equally bigger players now dominating the PBA, the 6-foot-9 Fil-Tongan had extended his game from the perimeter.

“I had to work hard for it. I worked out with Larry (Fonacier) in the morning. In the afternoon, I would call Jimmy (Alapag) to help me out and give me pointers on my shooting and at night, I worked out with Paul Lee. It’s not an overnight thing. I’ve been practicing my shooting even before we played in a tournament in Macau,” Taulava told FOX Sports Philippines.

In Rain or Shine-Pilipinas’ opening day win over Kazakhstan, Taulava hit a triple, the first trey in his Asian Games career, to send the Pinoy crowd into a frenzy.

“I felt great when it happened. I knew it’s only a matter of time. I’ve taken those shots with confidence,” added Taulava.

For Taulava, it was his head coach Yeng Guiao who encouraged him to shoot more.

“I told him, if he will practice it, then he can take it regularly,” added Guiao. “I was expecting that (making his first three-point shot). I knew he was lining himself up for a trey. Because he spent hours taking those shots, iniisip ko may papasok dito dahil pinagtyagaan naman niya yung skill na yun na nakuha niya.”