TnT rookie Mo Tautuaa admits he's still trying to adjust to new officiating guidelines
Mo Tautuaa has battled foul trouble early in his PBA career. Dante Peralta

IT seems the new officiating has been preventing Mo Tautuaa from playing to his full potential for Talk ‘N Text in the PBA Philippine Cup.

The rookie slotman asserted his might in the Texters’ 109-89 win over Blackwater, scattering 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting, 10 boards, and two assists in 22 minutes.

But this year’s top pick insisted he is still uncomfortable with how the referees are calling fouls these days, saying he needs to play “softer” than usual.

“I feel like I could play more physical and that’s what I like,” said Tautuaa, who once played American football.  “That’s why you see my football tendencies come out in there. And that’s not beneficial here. It doesn’t help me whatsoever and it’s kind of put me behind the ball.”

“So learning to cut that habit down and play to how the refs want me to play and how the team needs me to play so we could be successful, that’s what I need to find,” he was quick to add.

But after getting into foul trouble in the Texters’ loss to NLEX last Friday, Tautuaa picked up just two fouls – both on the offensive end – against the Elite.

“It (officiating) was a little touchy again, but I thought I adjusted better than last game,” the Filipino-Tongan big man said. “Obviously I did something right this time.”

“I toned my aggression down,” he added. “I was less coming through the key harder. I was more careful, with less (use of my) hands…and I did more facing up (post moves) in this game.”

Tautuaa said he still needs to “figure out ways to get to where I want to be at a functional area without getting fouls.”

“I have no choice, I can’t make the refs adjust to me,” the 6-foot-7 slotman said. “Finding a good balance, it’s going to change from game to game.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos