Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Moala Tautuaa, Troy Rosario expected to be no-show in PBA Draft
Top prospects Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario will not be around when their names are called in the PBA Rookie Draft, and will also miss out on the chance to show off their athleticism in the PBA Draft Combine.
Tautuaa and Rosario, pegged to be the first two picks in Sunday's Rookie Draft, joined the Gilas Pilipinas national team when they left for Estonia on Monday night for a training camp ahead of its campaign in the FIBA Asia Championship.
The PBA granted the request of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to excuse the rookies from the activities, but both Tautuaa and Rosario admit that the decision was a difficult one.
"I found out (Sunday night) that I was going (to Estonia with Gilas)," Tautuaa told select reporters at the 2015 Draft Suite presented by SLAM Magazine and Under Armour on Monday. "I asked if I could come back just for the Draft."
"You know, this is what I do – play basketball. I'm not gonna get this opportunity ever again, but I'm also not gonna get the opportunity to stand on the stage up there, you know?" Tautuaa added.
"So it was just, what do you want, you know? And I feel like playing (in Estonia) is gonna be better for me. It's gonna help me get ready for the PBA, it's gonna get my conditioning up."
Tautuaa adds that playing in Estonia will give him a chance to see big men Asi Taulava and Andray Blatche in action, and hopefully learn some valuable lessons from the veteran players.
"It's a learning experience for me," he said.
Rosario, for his part, says he is making a personal sacrifice in the name of flag and country for the second time this year.
"Noong naglaro ako sa SEA Games (last June in Singapore), 'yun din ang date ng graduation ko sa National University," he revealed. "Pero may commitment ako sa Sinag. 'Yung graduation ko naman, pwede ko gawin sa November."
The PBA Draft Combine is scheduled for August 19 and 20, and the Rookie Draft is set for August 23 at Robinsons Place Manila.
The national team is expected to return on August 24.
Although they will both miss a once-in-a-lifetime moment, both Tautuaa and Rosario have expressed their gratitude at being part of the Gilas pool, with the Fil-Tongan Tautuaa saying that he was thrilled to have the opportunity to represent his mother's country.
"When I left America, I told my mom that I wanted to play here in the Philippines, and for her, because she's Filipina. I wanted her to know that I was here, and I'm proud to play in the Philippines for her," said Tautuaa.
"But now, I'm playing for the Philippines, and so I've surpassed my goal. It's something that I'm proud of. I'm proud to be Filipino, and now I'm here, playing for them. I couldn't be more excited for it," he added.
"Sobrang laking learning experience," said Rosario of his stint with Gilas. "Ako 'yung pinakabata sa pool, at isa ako sa paakyat sa PBA. Sobrang saya nila kasama, kasi may mga advice sila, mga tips para pag akyat ko sa PBA, alam ko na kung ano ie-expect."