Top prospect Tautuaa ‘excited’ to take on backup role in Gilas
Moala Tautuaa may be the projected top overall pick of the 2015 PBA Draft, but on Thursday night, he was just a young pup following orders from the big dogs.
Taking a breather after a two-hour practice, Tautuaa said the different role of a backup is not a negative for him; instead, he sees the chance to join Gilas Pilipinas as a learning experience.
“It feels good, I’m excited to be here, it’s a good learning experience now I’m playing backup, a Plan B for the team but I’m excited,” Tautuaa said at Meralco Gym.
Tautuaa has been called up to the Gilas practice as a naturalized player. He doesn’t have a Philippine visa, which makes him a naturalized player under Fiba rules, to be a backup for Andray Blatche in the event the versatile big man cannot play in the Fiba Asia Championships.
“I’m not looking at it as a negative thing, it’s a positive thing for me, I get to get my foot on the door with some of the PBA players who’ve been doing it for years and years.”
A PBA player who’s been “doing it for years and years” is fellow Filipino-Tongan, Asi Taulava, who has isolated Tautuaa from the scrums on some occasions to teach him some big man’s tricks.
For Tautuaa, however, he’s not in the lineup to replace the 42-year-old but to learn from one of the PBA’s best ever.
“Asi’s shoes are big shoes to fill, I mean obviously,” Tautuaa said. “I’m not backing down from anything and I give the best I can do.”