Twenty-one years ago, hundreds of thousands watching at home saw on their television screens Asi Taulava, sitting on the bench reduced to tears as the agony of defeat struck him hard.
It was May 12, 1999, and his heart got shattered as Mobiline lost to Ginebra, 82-81, in the All-Filipino Cup quarterfinals — the first time in PBA history that a top seed lost to a number eight team.
“Shed some tears,” recalled Taulava in the Hoop Coaches International Webinar hosted by his former coach and current Blackwater Elite alternate governor Ariel Vanguardia.
What made it even more unfathomable for Taulava was the way the Phone Pals lost, no thanks to Bal David.
With two seconds left, David came off a series of screens, then went to the right-wing to receive Noli Locsin’s inbound pass. He took one dribble, spun over Jeffrey Cariaso, and went up for a leaner.
And then there was Taulava near the rim, helplessly watching the ball float above his head before it kissed the glass and went in as the buzzer sounded, sending the pro-Ginebra crowd into a frenzy.