Top rookie prospect Moala Tautuaa explains meeting with Pangilinan as PBA rules out 'tampering' issue
Talk 'N Text team owner Manny V. Pangilinan watches Game One of the PBA playoff series against Purefoods with prospective No. 1 rookie pick Moala Tautuaa. Jerome Ascano

THE PBA said there was no “tampering” issue about Moala Tautuaa and Talk ‘N Text owner Manny V. Pangilinan being seen together at courtside last Wednesday in Game One of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.

Tautuaa, a top draft prospect, sat beside MVP in the stands behind the Tropang Texters bench in the second half of the team's 100-94 loss to Purefoods at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Walang kaso kasi walang contract pa si Tautuaa at ‘di pa natin alam kung papasok siya at sinong makakakuha sa kanya,” media bureau chief Willie Marcial told on Friday.

The Tropang Texters own Blackwater’s first-round pick, which could turn out to be the No. 1 overall selection as the Elite are currently in last place with only three wins to show after two conferences this season.

Tautuaa, currently playing for Cebuana Lhuillier in the PBA D-League, is projected to be a top pick since the Filipino-Tongan slotman has impressed in the developmental league since moving to the country last year.

The 6-foot-7 cager, who turns 26 on April 30, said he was just introduced to MVP, the concurrent Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president, for the first time.

“I’ve been hanging out with a lot of the Gilas (Sinag) players as you could tell from my team now,” explained Tautuaa, who has two Cebuana Lhuillier teammates who are in the Sinag pool in Norbert Torres and Almond Vosotros.

“They had me meet MVP because that’s who’s running all the stuff for Gilas, so that’s why I was over there,” he continued. “Nice guy.”

Tautaa, though, welcomed the possibility of landing at Talk ‘N Text.

“It’s all in God’s hands,” he said. “But if I go there, that’s great. It seems like a good program. I like the players and everything over there.”

“But right now, I’m focusing on the D-League,” he was quick to add. “And when I get to that stepping stone, that’s when I’ll think about it.”

Asked about his favorite PBA team is, Tautuaa replied that his favorite player is Purefoods point guard Justin Melton, who was his former teammate at Westports Malaysia Dragons in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).

“Justin’s my favorite player. I have favorite players. I don’t have favorite teams,” he said.

“But if you’re going to make me, I’ll pick the one with the coolest color and I do look good in blue, so there’s a couple of teams out there,” he added with a smile. 


Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos