TNT KaTropa coach Nash Racela feels Mo Tautuaa can finally fulfill expectations that come with being a former No. 1 overall pick faster, now that he's with GlobalPort.
The top pick in the 2015 PBA draft, the Filipino-Tongan has only shown flashes of his potential at best in his first few years in the league, with teammate and draft batchmate Troy Rosario, who the Texters took after him, often playing better than the head of that year's draft class.
Tautuaa's gradual development appeared to make him expendable, leading to his inclusion in the trade that enabled TNT to get Terrence Romeo last week.
But Racela stressed that kind of progess was natural for promising cagers.
"I always believe na with the young guys, you have to be patient with them," the TNT coach told SPIN.ph at the end of team practice. "You can't expect them to be at a certain level right away - the first two, three years."
"Even si Kiefer (Ravena) nga eh, he's playing really well now, playing major minutes, but he still commits mistakes," he added of the second overall pick this season. "So that's part of the learning curve. It's part of their growth as players."
The 6-foot-7 Tautuua has started to assert his presence more this season, averaging 8.6 points on 46.3 percent shooting, 7.8 boards, and 1.1 assists in 21.9 minutes in the eliminations of the Philippine Cup.
Racela feels Tautuaa is on the right path, believing the promising big man can spread his wings further at Globalport.
"I think Mo will eventually be at that level, especially now that he will be the main big for Global," Racela said. "You look at the other bigs, from (Raymond) Almazan to (Epoy) Erram to (Ian) Sangalang to Japeth (Aguilar), it took them a lot of years before they reached their level. So sa akin, if we could wait four, five years, they'll reach their full potential."
And if he only had his way entirely, Racela would've kept Tautuaa under his wing.
"If we had the patience, for sure I'm willing to hold on to him," the TNT coach said.