FIL-TONGAN big man Moala Tautuaa took the first step in his bid to realize his dream of playing in the PBA with a visit at the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation office on Monday.
Accompanied by his Filipina mother Romanita and player agent Charlie Dy, the hulking Tautuaa applied for his citizenship papers at the BID office in Intramuros, Manila which every Filipino player with foreign blood needs to be eligible to play as a local in the PBA and D-League.
“Nag-apply pa lang sa BID, maybe mga one month para ma-process so we’ll wait for the papers,” Dy told Spin.ph on Monday night.
The 6-foot-5 Fil-Tongan is currently with the Westsports Malaysia Dragons in the Asean Basketball League (ABL), but Dy said the former Chadron State forward plans to enter the D-League draft on September 16 prior to the start of the Aspirants Cup in late October.
The 25-year-old Tautuaa currently averages 15.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 0.6 block for the Dragons, who started off the 2014 season with a 2-1 win0-loss record.
Once all is set, Moala is expected to emerge as the second staight Fil-foreign player to end up as the No. 1 pick in the D-League after Fil-Italian guard Chris Banchero, who was tabbed by Boracay Rhum in the first-ever PBA D-League rookie draft early this year.
Dy said Moala plans to honor his commitment with the Dragons before joining the D-League - a pre-requisite for Fil-foreign players 25 years or younger wishing to play in the PBA.
Once he completes a season in the D-League, Tautuaa will be eligible for the 2015-16 rookie draft of the PBA, where he is projected to be a Top Three pick on the way to becoming the next Fil-Tongan player in the pro league after Asi Taulava.
The hard-banging Tautuaa was the lone holdover among the Asean imports for this season in the Dragons’ roster. His former teammate, high-leaping Fil-Am guard Justin Melton, has impressed in his rookie season with grand slam champion San Mig Super Coffee.