GOOD thing Mo Tautuaa had known Calvin Abueva in their stint with Gilas Pilipinas. Otherwise, the rookie big man could have easily fallen prey to the antics of the enigmatic Alaska stalwart.
The 26-year-old Fil-Tongan was quick to dismiss the series of incidents he found himself involved in with Abueva in the Aces’ 108-100 win over Tropang TNT in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The two engaged each other in trash talking and taunting, with Abueva seemingly getting the better of the exchanges.
But the year’s top rookie pick shrugged off the episode as nothing but a mind game between two players who obviously wanted to win.
The 6-foot-9 Tautuaa said he’s used to seeing the Alaska star act that way, Abueva being Abueva.
“That’s how he is man. That’s how he plays,” said a smiling Tautuaa as he made his way to the hallway on his way out of the Big Dome.
“Every game he’s like that, same thing, were both with Gilas and I’m used to it. I get to practice with him every day.”
Unlike Abueva who finished with 11 points and six rebounds while playing for 26 minutes, Tautuaa only had three points and a pair of rebounds in a 10-minute stint on the floor.
So did Abueva get into his head, he was asked.
“Absolutely nothing,” he said still smiling, adding he was actually assigned defensively to take on Alaska import Shane Edwards.
While Alaska notched its first win in the mid-season tournament, Tropang TNT fell to its third straight loss for a 1-3 mark.