I let my team down, says Cagayan’s Tautuaa after finals loss to Hapee
MANILA, Philippines—With just 10 ticks remaining on the clock, he stood at the charity stripe with his team down by one.
Moala Tautuaa, the talisman of the Cagayan Rising Suns, looked at the rim as the scoreboard read 82-81 in favor of the Hapee Fresh Fighters.
Everything was at a stop, Tautuaa pulled his shooting hand to his head, extended it for a shot, and then missed.
A yellow crowd rose in unison, cheering for Hapee and his botched free throw.
As Tautuaa sunk the second, 82-82, the crowd in maroon jumped realizing that they get another shot for the PBA D-League Aspirant’s Cup trophy.
All of the 10 seconds expired, and the game went to overtime.
But as the overtime came, Tautuaa, the fast-rising, high-octane center became pedestrian.
“You can’t have good games all the time,” Tautuaa said, his voice low from disappointment, his eyes red from sadness. “I didn’t play well enough, didn’t do what I was supposed to do.”
“I let the team down.”
Tautuaa’s errant pass that went straight to the hands of Hapee’s Scottie Thompson ultimately keyed in the Rising Suns’ defeat.
Thompson stole the pass and released a simple layup to give the Fresh Fighters a 92-91 lead with 22.1 remaining in overtime.
“Coach told me to bring the ball up the floor but at that I had to give the ball to someone,” Tautuaa said. “I never expected Scottie there, I never expected Scottie to react that way.”
“That’s one of the worst games I ever had. I let my team down. Bu I’m really proud of my team.”
Not a teammate near him, Tautuaa exited the court amidst the celebration of the yellow shirts and yellow balloons, a saddened figure in maroon had his head down.