Moala Tautuaa will have very big shoes to fill after the San Miguel Beermen lost starting center June Mar Fajardo to injury.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo suffered a complete fracture on his right tibia during team practice last February 3 and has been ruled out for the upcoming Philippine Cup.
The Beermen are looking to bounce back from a disastrous Governors’ Cup and have set their sights on an unprecedented 6th straight All-Filipino title in order to ease the pain of a second failed Grand Slam bid.
Tautuaa, who was acquired late last season for fellow top overall pick Christian Standhardinger, has suddenly been thrust into the spotlight following Fajardo’s impending absence.
“It’s just time for me to step up, just continue to play basketball and help the team as much as I can,” said Tautuaa. “I’m just going to work as hard as I can, like I always do, bring what I can to the table and make sure we’re successful at the end of every game.”
“I started last conference too a few times. I was starting in NorthPort every game. No pressure. I’m still playing against the same players. Now I just have a different team surrounding me. It’s not anything I’m not accustomed to. It’s just the same role but on a different jersey,” added the 6-foot-8 Fil Tongan who posted combined averages 14.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in 38 outings last season.
Wit their main man out indefinitely, Tautuaa believes that the remaining Beermen will pick up the slack and work towards a common goal.
“We still have a good team. We’re still enough. We’re not really worried about anything. I mean we’re worried for June Mar, prayers for him. But we’re still keeping the ball moving, keep going. We’ll pray for him, but we’ll keep moving. We’re still good. As far as anything goes, right now we’re trying to work with what we have.”