FIL-Tongan Moala Tautuaa makes his much-anticipated debut on local soil as Cagayan Valley tries to preserve its unblemished record when it battles Café France on Thursday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Rising Suns finally have their top pick in this year’s Rookie Draft for the conference after the Fil-Tongan’s stint with the Malaysia Dragons, who wound up second in the Asean Basketball League.
Having won their first three games without him, Tautuaa’s teammates are now looking forward to maintain their clean record in the 2 p.m. match of unbeaten teams.
“I think this gives us greater confidence as a team,” said Cagayan Valley’s lead guard Abel Galliguez. “I think it gives us even more confidence now that he is coming in. This is also good for the team’s cohesiveness and going into our game with momentum.”
Café France coach Egay Macaraya admitted he is hoping that Tautuaa’s entry would somehow disrupt the rhythm that Cagayan Valley has developed through three games.
“It can work both ways. If he arrives, he can help the team or he is not yet jelling with the team. Magiging disadvantage din.”
“We hope for the bad, not with the best,” said Macaraya with a smile. “Alam naman natin kung gaano siya ka-dominant.”
The winner of the Cagayan Valley-Café France match joins idle Hapee (4-0) on top of the standings.
Jumbo Plastic Linoleum and Wangs Basketball collide at 4 p.m., hoping to close in on the leaders. The two teams share fourth place with 2-1 win-loss records.
Tanduay Light and Cebuana Lhuillier part ways in the 12 p.m. match. The two squads are in sixth place toting a 1-2 records and are both coming off two straight losses.
The tripleheader will be shown on IBC-13 through the production of Asian Television Content on a delayed basis starting at 6 p.m.
Standings: Hapee 4-0, Café France 3-0, Cagayan Valley 3-0, Jumbo Plastic 2-1, Wangs Basketball 2-1, Cebuana Lhuillier 1-2, Tanduay Light 1-2, MJM M-Builders 1-3, MP Hotel 1-3, BreadStory-LPU 1-3, Racal Motors 1-3, AMA 1-3.