Members of 2002 Philippine basketball team not surprised Taulava, Hontiveros still playing for country



Asi Taulava and Dondon Hontiveros first represented the Philippines in the 2002 Busan Asian Games. The squad was just seconds away from playing in the gold medal round until a wayward three-pointer by Korean Lee Sang-Min struck the dagger to the hearts of the Filipinos.

Thirteen years already passed since that painful game, yet Taulava, 42, and Hontiveros, 38, are still playing for the national team. They are fulfilling the roles of being the elder statesmen in this year’s batch of Gilas Pilipinas vying for an Olympic berth in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.

Allan Caidic, an assistant coach of the 2002 squad, believes Taulava and Hontiveros deserve their spots in the national team.

“I’m not surprised at all,” Caidic wrote to InterAksyon.com in a text message. “I know both of them are really deserving to be there.”

Regarded as one of the most feared shooters ever to play in the Asian basketball circuit, Caidic was part of the last amateur squad to win the Asian Basketball Confederation (now known as FIBA Asia Championship) title in 1986. He also played in the first all-pro team in the 1990 Asian Games and represented the country to two more Asiad in 1994 and 1998.

For “The Triggerman,” Taulava and Hontiveros will be essential in the Gilas Pilipinas’ campaign.

“Their leadership and experience in the 2002 Asian Games will be great help for the younger guys,” Caidic said.

Caidic’s observations were likewise shared by Jeff Cariaso, Boyet Fernandez and Kenneth Duremdes who were also members of the 2002 squad.

“It doesn’t usually happen, right? But I’m not surprised,” Cariaso said. “I’m happy for them.”

“Their major contribution will be their experience. Being the elder statesmen of the team, I feel their leadership will play a vital role on and off the court. They both have a specific skill that will contribute to the team.

“Don can spread the floor and obviously shoot the three. Asi is the perfect back up big that will be a force in the pain.”

Fernandez, who was plucked in as a reserve player in the 2002 team, believes the two veterans can still play in a high level as proven by their still-active stints in the PBA. Taulava plays under Fernandez at NLEX Road Warriors, while Hontiveros suits up for Alaska.

“Asi will bring that ‘Kuya’ attitude that will help the team to stay positive and to keep them bonded for the glory of our country,” wrote Fernandez in a text message.

“Dondon will be the designated three-point shooter at crunch time. He has lots of international experience and that will be crucial for us to achieve our goal.”

Duremdes wished his former teammates and the whole Gilas Pilipinas team well.

“We need veteran players like Asi and Dondon perfect leaders for our national team,” Duremdes said. “Good luck to our team and to my former teammates sa 2002 national team, serving the country is already like serving our people.”


TRENDING

Brgy. Ginebra replaces Shane Edwards with big man Charles Garcia

Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel has released stand-in import Shane Edwards just days before the 2018 PBA Commissioner's Cup formally kicks off. Taking the place of...

PBA releases partial 2018 Commissioner’s Cup elims schedule

The PBA has released through its social media accounts a partial schedule of the upcoming 2018 Commissioner's Cup signed by no less than league...

WATCH: Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel’s limited edition jersey collection!

Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel veteran Mark Caguioa posted on his Instagram account a sneak peek into Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel's limited edition jersey collection...

PBA adjusts Commissioner’s Cup schedule for Gilas Pilipinas

The PBA Board of Governors have approved a request by Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes and coursed through Commissioner Willie Marcial for a nine-day...

Schedule

2018 Commissioner’s Cup Team Standings

The 2018 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner's Cup, also known as the 2018 Honda–PBA Commissioner's Cup for sponsorship reasons, will be the second conference...