Fil-Tongan Moala Tautuaa motivated to work harder after D-League Finals letdown
Mo Tautuaa vows to bounce back from his Game Two performance. Jerome Ascano

CAGAYAN Valley star Mo Tautuaa expressed disappointment after he failed to lead the Rising Suns when it mattered most in their 93-91 overtime loss to Hapee in Game Two of the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Finals on Thursday.

The Filipino-Tongan slotman registered 13 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and one steal in 37 minutes, but he missed crucial free throws in regulation, committed a costly turnover in the extra session where he also went scoreless.

With the Rising Suns down, 81-82, time down to 10 seconds in the fourth quarter, Tautaa could’ve forged a deciding game in the best-of-three series after being fouled by Scottie Thompson, only to split his charities that led to overtime.

He actually missed three of his last four attempts from the free-throw line.

Cagayan was still ahead, 91-90, with 22.1 seconds left in extra session, but Tautaa made a weak inbound pass from the backcourt that Thompson stole and quickly converted into a layup, giving the Fresh Fighters the lead for good.

Tautaa, who committed five turnovers in all, was baffled by his miscues in the endgame.

“I have no idea (why it happened),” the 25-year-old PBA prospect admitted. “I felt calm. My head was collected. I felt fine, but today I wasn’t firing on all cylinders.

“I just didn’t do what I was supposed to.”

“I practiced hard all week. I was warming up hard this morning. I thought I focused correctly this morning,” he added. “But sometimes it just doesn’t fall your way.”

“Congrats to Hapee. They deserved it.”

The setback, though, will only motivate Tautaa more.

“It’s only going to put more fire in us next conference,” he said ahead of the Foundation Cup next month. “I’m just going to continue training.”

“There’s another conference coming and I’m just going to focus on that one,” he added. “I wasn’t focused enough this game, but next conference I’m going to really work harder.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos