Mo Tautuaa out to redeem himself from disappointing rookie season for TNT
Mo Tautuaa played his best game for TNT this season. Dante Peralta

MO Tautuaa is out to redeem himself from a rather disappointing rookie season.

The 27-year-old Filipino-Tongan showed a glimpse of why he was the top rookie pick last season when he erupted for 20 big points in TNT Katropa’s 99-92 win over Blackwater in the PBA Philippine Cup Friday night.

Tautuaa pumped 15 of his points in the first half to help the Texters finally take control of the match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum after a lethargic start.

The sophomore big man later said it has been a while since he had ‘a decent game.’ Tautuaa stressed this is his way of atoning for his below-par performance during his freshman season.

“I have to grow continuously and get better. I want to redeem myself from last season,” he said. “I didn’t play like myself (last season).”

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Despite the hype surrounding Tautuaa when the Texters tabbed him with the No. 1 overall pick in the rookie draft, the 6-foot-8 forward-center never lived up to expectations and didn’t even figure in the race for the coveted Rookie of the Year award.

Worse, the Texters even failed to make it back to the finals. They were eliminated in the semifinals by sister-team Meralco during the season-ending Governors Cup despite ending up as the top-seeded team at the end of the eliminations.

Tautuaa said all of those is in the past now.

“We came short last conference,” he admitted. “But we want to keep pushing and have a better season (this time).”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos