Mo Tautuaa vows to work harder to be a ‘bigger threat’ for San Miguel
MANILA, Philippines—Moala Tautuaa has one of the most daunting tasks of any player heading into the 2020-21 PBA season.
Not only will Tautuaa anchor San Miguel’s interior, but he’s also essentially filling in the role of the injured June Mar Fajardo—the only man to win five MVPs in the league.
Taututaa was a late season addition to the Beermen when the team traded for him in exchange for Christian Standhardinge halfway through the Governors’ Cup.
Entering his first full season with the Beermen, Tautuaa said he’d work his hardest to be the center San Miguel will need.
“I’m going to get better, I got to continue to grow in the paint and become a bigger threat,” said Tautuaa after the Beermen’s 81-79 loss to Alaska in a tune-up game Friday at Upper Deck Sports Center.
“I know I have it in me and I’m going to do it. It’s just a matter of time before I get my feet cemented to the ground and get ready for this season.”
Tautuaa, the top overall pick of the 2015 draft, had one of his best seasons in 2019-20 when he averaged 15.9 points and 8.4 rebounds as the center for NorthPort.
Those numbers experienced a steep nosedive when he got dealt to San Miguel where the jovial 6-foot-8 big man averaged 5.4 points and 3.7 boards.
Nevertheless, Tautuaa is feeling the love from head coach Leo Austria, who has always reminded him to continue doing the good things he does for the team.
“He’s just telling me what he wants me to do and what he saw,” said Tautuaa. “He wants me to continue to work and improve. We’re just making sure we’re on the same page and he knows and he expresses what he wants me to do for this team.”
“It’s obviously not going to be a seven-foot person down there in the paint but it’s going to be someone they respect. Once I earn that respect this conference, our team will flourish.”