MANILA, Philippines -- As he prepares to join his third team in four years, Moala Tautuaa said he is ready to do whatever is necessary to be of help to the San Miguel Beermen.
San Miguel acquired Tautuaa from NorthPort on Monday in exchange for Christian Standhardinger, a development that surprised the Fil-Tongan big man even as he could already see it coming.
"I'm still trying to digest it," Tautuaa said of the trade. "Today, it's news to me. I thought I was doing well at NorthPort, and now I'm over here at San Miguel."
The 30-year-old forward knew that getting traded was always a possibility; he saw signs of it through his time at NorthPort despite making great strides as a player under coach Pido Jarencio.
"Like last time, you see a lot of stuff, and all the pieces keep changing, but there was always one constant, and I was the constant," said Tautuaa, who was selected by TNT as the No. 1 overall pick in 2015, but was sent to NorthPort in 2018 in exchange for Terrence Romeo.
"Before last time, when I was at TNT, there was a lot of trade rumors. The only constant was myself, and who I was getting traded for always changed. Now, it happened again. I've seen this pattern," he said.
"I was surprised . . . but I could feel it coming, because it's been two, three conferences now I've been hearing a lot," he added.
There are no hard feelings for Tautuaa. He was grateful that NorthPort handled the deal professionally: he revealed that he received a call from the team informing him that he was traded. This was in contrast to how his trade from TNT went down, when he learned of the deal through the Internet.
He will report to San Miguel for the first time Tuesday, and Tautuaa is already embracing his new club.
"This is basketball, and you work with what you're given," he said. "I mean, I'm happy to be in this position."
"I was happy to be at NorthPort, I was happy to be at TNT, now I'm happy to be at SMB. Let's give it a go," he added.
Tautuaa knows he is joining a championship team, one that is aiming for a Grand Slam this conference. Thus, he stresses that he "just wants to help" the Beermen, in whatever way he could.
"I just wanna be a better player and help, and fit where I can," he said. "They felt like I can fit over here, so they brought me over here to SMB, so I'm gonna work as hard as I can to get my job done to help the team."
"I'm just gonna go over here and bring what I have to this new culture and hope I get accepted how I am, and I hope I fit what they need to continue to be successful," he added.
Already, Tautuaa believes he can fit in with San Miguel's playing style, particularly with five-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo.
"They have an established inside presence," he said of Fajardo. "They need an inside-outside, or a relief . . . Not a relief, but, just different looks."
"I feel like I can fit that little piece that they need, and I'm gonna try my best to be what they need," he added.
Tautuaa will make his debut for San Miguel on Sunday, against Columbian Dyip.
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