MANILA, Philippines -- Veteran point guard Chris Ross has no doubts that Mo Tautuaa will fit in with the San Miguel Beermen, after they acquired the Fil-Tongan center in exchange for Christian Standhardinger.
Standhardinger played four-and-a-half conferences for San Miguel, and helped them win the championships in the All-Filipino Conference and the Commissioner's Cup this year. He was shipped to NorthPort on Monday afternoon, however, in a transaction that surprised Ross.
"I was leaving the office, then I went on social media, and it was the first tweet I saw. It's pretty shocking. I didn't really hear any rumors about it or anything," Ross said after Gilas Pilipinas' practice on Monday at the Meralco Gym.
Standhardinger, also a part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the Southeast Asian Games, attended the practice but did not talk to the media afterward.
Ross said that the bond that they have with Standhardinger won't be severed just because he is now set to play for the Batang Pier.
"It was great being his teammate, he was a good guy to me. We text and we built a friendship," he said.
"Just 'cause he got traded doesn't mean our friendship will end. I'll keep in contact with him and I wish him well," he added.
They have to move on, however, and focus on integrating Tautuaa to their system. It won't be an easy process, said Ross, especially as Tautuaa will come in the middle of the conference.
Yet the veteran point guard is also confident that they can make it work, as he has heard nothing but good things about Tautuaa ever since the Fil-Tongan entered the PBA in 2015 as the No. 1 pick in the Rookie Draft.
"He's a great teammate, and he's easy to be around, so he'll fit right in the culture with us. Just gotta get him used to doing things the way we do it there at San Miguel," said Ross.
"He's a great fit for us," he also said.
Ross feels that Tautuaa's ability to stretch the floor as a big man will be of great help to them, and he is also impressed with Tautuaa's ability to guard imports.
"Mo will come in hand as to our collection of bigs," said Ross. "With June Mar (Fajardo), Kelly (Nabong), now we got Mo, then Arwind (Santos) is the utility guy, you can play him everywhere."
"It's gonna be a process," he added. "We don't expect it to happen like that, but we expect it to happen fairly quickly."
Tautuaa reported to San Miguel practice for the first time on Tuesday morning and is expected to play on Sunday when the Beermen play Columbian Dyip.
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