ASI Taulava took Mo Tautuaa to school as he outperformed his younger Filipino-Tongan counterpart in NLEX’s 107-101 win over Talk ‘N Text in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Road Warriors star showed the Tropang Texters rookie how it’s done as he registered 18 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the foul line, 18 boards, two assists against seven turnovers in 31 minutes.
Tautuaa’s numbers paled as he tallied just 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting and three boards, and one assist against five fouls in 19 minutes.
“He calls me lolo,” the 42-year-old Taulava said of his Gilas Pilipinas teammate. “It pisses me off and makes me play even harder when he does that to me.”
“But it’s just good competition. I guess he learned his lesson for calling me ‘lolo,’” he added with a chuckle.
Asked if he intimidated his younger counterpart, Taulava turned serious as he played down his superior showing against the 26-year-old Tautuaa.
“Maybe. I don’t know (if I intimidated him),” Taulava said. “I was just put in a better position. I get to touch the ball a lot more than he does, especially because he’s playing with Jayson (Castro). The offense goes through Jayson.”
Tautuaa insisted he fared well against his elder, saying getting into early foul trouble spelled the difference
“I felt like I matched up well,” said this year’s No. 1 overall pick, who went out with less than four minutes gone by in the opening period after getting a second foul. “If I would’ve not gone into foul trouble, I felt it could’ve been a different game.”
“We respect each other,” Tautuaa added. “I felt like we were both kind of winded and we’re both trying to fight, we’re ruffling each other. So we don’t have enough room to trash talk, because we’re tired.”
Taulava knows Tuatuaa will bounce back.
“I just want to tell him to keep his head high,” he said. “Sometimes you have bad games. It’s nothing personal; it’s just two guys out there banging bodies. We may end up winning, but in the future, I’m sure he’s going to run me down to the ground.”