PBA Philippine Cup: Swan song for Sonny Thoss, Asi Taulava?

Published January 29, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By TITO S. TALAO

MILAN — Two of the PBA’s elder statesmen —Sonny Thoss of Alaska and Asi Taulava of NLEX — may be having their swan songs in the 45th season Philippine Cup which starts March 1 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

NLEX's Asi Taulava and Alaska's Sonny Thoss (PBA Images)
NLEX’s Asi Taulava and Alaska’s Sonny Thoss (PBA Images)

Dickie Backmann, governor of the Alaska Aces, said Tuesday on the bus from the Milan Malpensa Airport in Northern Italy that Thoss, their 38-year-old, 6-foot-7 veteran center, has been signed to a final six-month extended contract.

“We will be retiring his jersey after the All-Filipino,” said Bachmann.

Alaska Aces’ Sonny Thoss, left, and Carl Bryan Cruz struggle to hold back rampaging TNT KaTropa import Terrence Jones during a rebound play in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. TNT won 99-85. (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)
Alaska Aces’ Sonny Thoss, left, and Carl Bryan Cruz struggle to hold back rampaging TNT KaTropa import Terrence Jones during a rebound play in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Drafted fifth overall by the Aces out of James Cook University in North Queensland, Australia in 2004, Thoss is a three-time champion (2007 Fiesta, 2010 Fiesta and 2013 Commissioner’s Cup), a Finals MVP in 2013 and a 12-time All-Star.

He is also a two-time Mythical First Team member and part of the 2004 All-Rookie Team. Known for his laid-back demeanor and shifty post-up moves, Thoss, whose mother is from Cebu, won the PBA Sportsmanship Award in 2011.

Bachmann said Alaska is awaiting for 6-foot-4 former Letran Knights forward Rey Publico, who the Aces drafted in the second round last year, to wrap up his stint with another league before signing him to a contract

“We’ll be all set after that,” said Bachmann.

Asi Taulava (PBA Images)
Asi Taulava (PBA Images)

Meanwhile, NLEX governor Rod Franco, president and CEO of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp, said 6-foot-9 center Asi Taulava, on his 31st season in the PBA, will likewise be offered a contract extension to run the duration of the  Philippine Cup, leaving the league, if both go on and hang their jerseys, without its two longest-serving players when the Commissioner’s Cup starts in May.

“Baka ganoon na rin kami,” Franco said when Backmann inquired about Taulava’s tenure.

A direct hire from Brigham Young University in Hawaii in 1998, Taulava, who is of Fil-Tongan lineage, is a PBA champion, Finals MVP and Season MVP all in 2003 when the Mobiline Phone Pals won the All-Filipino Conference.

He is a 17-time All-Star, twice the event’s MVP (2004, 2006), a four-time Mythical First Team choice, three-time All-Defensive Team member and Comeback Player of the Yeara in 2014.

Taulava is among the PBA’s 40 Greatest Players.

In a separate interview, a source bared that Magnolia guard PJ Simon, 39, the steal of the 2001 Rookie Draft at 43rd overall, is likewise contemplating retirement.

Simon is an eight-time champion and All-Star, twice named Mr. Quality Minutes (2008, 2014) and last year’s Three-Point Shootout champion.

 
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