CEBUANA Lhuillier coach Boycie Zamar was glad that Moala Tautuaa heeded his call after the Gems stalwart left Game One of the PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals against Hapee with an injury.
The outspoken Gems coach felt Tautuaa should’ve at least shown a desire to stay after the projected top pro draft pick was stretchered out in the third quarter of the opener of the best-of-three series following a left ankle sprain.
He never returned.
However, Tautuaa responded in Game Two on Thursday by playing through his injury and contributing 10 points, 12 boards, one block, one steal, and one assist in 25 minutes to help the Gems force a deciding game with a 76-73 win.
“Chinallenge rin natin siya,” Zamar said. “I told him, ‘Mo, you have to show your teammates you’re a winner. Next time, I don’t want to see that na na-knockout ka nung first game and you just went out. Hindi ka na bumalik.’”
“That’s a sign of cowardice,” the Cebuana coach added. “Pakita mo na pu-pwede ka mag-tape at lumaban sa loob. Matalo man, at least we’re there.”
“It’s to show your teammates that you care and may heart ka rin sa loob.”
Tautuaa’s mental toughness was none more evident than at crunch time when he converted a pressure-packed shot off a Simon Enciso feed with 18.3 seconds left that proved to be the Gems’ insurance points.