by Jonas Terrado
Mo Tautuaa is raring to make the most of the opportunity to shine under a new team after joining the GlobalPort Batang Pier in a trade that sent star guard Terrence Romeo to TNT KaTropa two weeks earlier.
Tautuaa, who GlobalPort acquired along with two future picks in exchange for Romeo and center Yousef Taha, believes the trade will help him display the form that made him the No. 1 overall pick of TNT in the 2015 draft.
“I see it as a fresh start,” Tautuaa said after scoring 15 points in GlobalPort’s 97-91 win over Phoenix in a tuneup game Friday at the Upper Deck Sports Center in Ortigas.
“It’s a good place for me to grow and find my rhythm, and I’m enjoying it – that’s the important thing,” added Tautuaa. “It makes me want to work harder and do more, and be better, so it’s a process and I just got to continue to grow.”
Some see the trade as a chance for the 28-year-old to become the player TNT envisioned when he was the first rookie summoned to the stage in the 2015 draft. KaTropa coach Nash Racela even said that the move will likely open the door for Tautuaa to raise his game to another level.
His new coach, GlobalPort’s Pido Jarencio, is also a believer that Tautuaa can be a major asset to a squad that needs more strength in the middle and ease the huge responsibilities Kelly Nabong had last conference.
“I’m going to do as best as I can for this team,” Tautuaa said. “I need to be what the team needs me to be, so whatever that is, and the more we practice, the more we’ll figure out where I’m supposed to be.
“And everyone is saying I’m fitting well, and the wings are starting to spread, so we’ll see how big they can get.”
Incidentally, Tautuaa’s GlobalPort debut will come against TNT on April 22 in the Commissioner’s Cup opener at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Batang Pier will have returnee Malcolm White as import while guard Stanley Pringle is expected to finally become the main man after sharing the heavy lifting with Romeo for the past four seasons.