Moala Tautuaa shows up at Big Dome wearing a Star shirt, then explains why
Moala Tautuaa says he wore this shirt to show support for good friend and former ABL teammate Justin Melton. Karlo Sacamos

HE was once seen in the spectator stands watching a PBA game beside Talk 'N Text owner Manny Pangilinan. Now Moala Tautuaa was seen wearing a Star Hotshots shirt at courtside.

But the Fil-Tongan quickly played down speculations, saying he wasn’t trying to make a statement with the shirt but was merely expressing his support for pal and former Malaysia Dragons teammate Justin Melton of the Hotshots.

“I just wanted to come and support Justin,” Tautuaa, the consensus No. 1 pick in the coming PBA rookie draft, said after Star beat Ginebra in their PBA Governors’ Cup game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.

“He always comes and supports me, so I figured I’d come help him out and they came victorious.”

[See Joe Devance delivers telling blows as Star turns back Ginebra fightback]

Considering how the shirt fit him well, does the Filipino-Tongan big man also want to fit in with Star?

“I feel like I can adapt well. That’s what I’ve done a lot in my life,” the 6-foot-7 Tautuaa said. “It’s all about coaching. If my coach is willing to work with me, I’m willing to change to fit the format of that team.”

But before fans get any wild ideas, Tautuaa said he's not looking to join one team in particular ahead of the draft.

“I’m not saying that it’s for this team (Star) in particular,” he was quick to add. “I don’t have a Ginebra shirt and those were my teams out there.”

The 26-year-old Tautuaa stressed no pro team has yet to approach him.

[See Top rookie prospect Moala Tautuaa explains meeting with Pangilinan as PBA rules out 'tampering' issue

“It’s still all up in the air,” the Cebuana Lhuillier star said. “There’s nothing certain and that’s why I work hard every day. I got to earn every bit out here.”

Still, Tautuaa has an idea on the team he hopes to join.

“But I would want to choose a team that wants me,” he added. “Whoever wants me to play for them, that’s who I want to play for, someone who’s proud to put me on their team, someone who thinks they can build me up and make me a better player, because that’s ultimately what I want.”

“We’ll see who wants me the most on draft day.”


Tatuaa said he is focused at this time on the task at hand — leading the Gems in the Foundation Cup semifinals against Hapee.

“I’m excited, but then again, I got to worry about where I’m at right now,” he said. “It’s one day at a time, so I’ll take care of the D-League first then worry about what I can later.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos