Tautuaa, Rosario go up against ex-teammates as TnT tests Gilas' mettle in MVP Cup opener
Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario team up for Talk 'N Text as they battle former Gilas Pilipinas teammates in the opener of the MVP Cup. Jerome Ascano

JUST days removed from Gilas Pilipinas, Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario find themselves in collision right away with their former teammates as Talk ‘N Text gets the right to test the men’s national team first in the MVP Cup that gets underway Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

A Tropang Texters side that features the frontcourt tandem of Tautuaa and Rosario meets the Philippine squad bound for the Fiba Asia Men’s Championship in the main game of a weekend doubleheader that will have guest teams Chinese-Taipei and New Zealand battling each other in the 5 p.m. curtain raiser.

Game time for the Gilas-Talk ‘N Text match is at 7 p.m.

Talk 'N Text coach Jong Uichico however, is not certain yet whether Rosario, who played a key role last season when National University ended its 60-year title drought in the UAAP, will be playing for the Tropang Texters since Gilas coach Tab Baldwin still wants him to be with the national team.

Rosario was present at the Gilas practice Wednesday night along with Gary David.

Tautuaa and Rosario, who emerged as the top two picks in the recent PBA rookie draft, were among the final cuts in the Gilas 12-man roster of coach Baldwin that was named last Tuesday along with David, Jimmy Alapag, and Aldrech Ramos.

The two did suit up for the team during its trip to Estonia for a pocket tournament and just last week in the 37th Jones Cup in Taipei.

On Saturday, Gilas plunges into action against the Wellington Saints of New Zealand at 5 p.m., the same ballclub the Filipinos beat in overtime in the Jones Cup, 92-88.

The 3 p.m. first match will have Talk ‘N Text playing Chinese Taipei.

Gilas caps its schedule in the three-day, three-nation meet on Sunday with a showdown against Chinese-Taipei, marking the rematch between the two countries since Gilas turned back the Taiwanese, 77-69, to kick off its campaign in the last Jones Cup.

Talk ‘N Text was a last-minute replacement in the tournament serving as part of Gilas Pilipinas’ preparation for the Rio Olympics qualifier set in Changsha, China from Sept. 23 to Oct. 3.

The Tropang Texters took over the spot of Lebanon, which pulled out of the meet for no apparent reason at all.

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