TAIPEI - Although not by design, Moala Tautuaa will likely end up playing a lot of games in the Jones Cup following Andray Blatche's departure for the US to attend to funeral of his uncle.
Marc Pingris will also play lengthily - by design.
With Blatche likely to sit out most if not all of Gilas Pilipinas' games in the Jones Cup, national coach Tab Baldwin said he expects Tautuaa to get a lot of action in this nine-nation tournament which the Philippines ruled in 2012.
The 6-7 Tautuaa, the top pick overall in the last PBA rookie draft, was a late addition to the Gilas pool as an 'alternate naturalized player' but is now thrust into the spotlight following Blatche's return to the US.
"I suspect he'll play a lot of games," said Baldwin of Tautuaa, who, although of Filipino descent, cannot play as a local for Gilas owing to his failure to gain Philippine citizenship before he turned 16. "Not all eight (games), but a lot."
The Fil-Tongan was part of the 24-player pool Gilas submitted to Fiba Asia organizers but is listed as a naturalized player.
On the other hand, Baldwin bared he also plans to give Pingris a good run in the Jones Cup to put him up to speed with the national team following his late addition to the 17-man pool.
The Star forward, a stalwart of the Gilas team that finished runner-up in the 2013 Fiba Asia in Manila, rejoined the pool only last Tuesday after a family trip to France.