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ABL star Tautuaa becomes first pick of D-League draft

Moala Tautuaa begins his PBA dream as he is set to join the Cagayan Rising
Suns as the first pick of the PBA D-League Draft. ABL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

Moala Tautuaa leads the cast of the incoming rookies of the PBA D-League as he was tabbed as the first overall pick of the D-League Draft at the PBA office in Quezon City.

Tautuaa will strut his wares with the Cagayan Rising Suns, the owners of the first pick.

Rising Suns assistant coach Nonoy Bonleon expressed optimism on his team's campaign after drafting Tautuaa.

"Malaking tulong sya kasi di pa kami umabot sa championship, hanggang second place lang ang Cagayan. Sa laki nya, sa tingin ko baka makapasok ulit kami sa Finals,” Bonleon said in an interview with the PBA.

The 6'7" high-flying Filipino-Tongan forward declared for the 2012 NBA Draft but never got selected.

He has since taken his talents to the ASEAN Basketball League where he is now taking charge of the Malaysia Dragons.

Tautuaa currently averages 11.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists this ABL season.

Meanwhile, Tanduay Light, formerly known as Boracay Rum, took Chris Newsome as the second pick.

Tanduay coach Lawrence Chongson said that Newsome will be his hands-down selection even if his team goes first.

Chongson said to the PBA, “Sya talaga ang kukunin ko. If I were to go number one, baka sya talaga ang kunin ko. Complete package. Multi-position sya. Pinili ko na yung talent over sa height.”

Cafe France-CEU looked to bolster its frontline by selecting La Salle center Arnold Van Opstal as the third pick.

Van Opstal's fellow Green Archer Norbert Torres went to Cebuana Lhullier as the fourth pick.

The Gems decided not to pursue another tie-up with UE this year, leading to a bunch of Red Warriors going elsewhere.

Roi Sumang went to Tanduay as the 13th pick, the first selection of the second round, while rising star Bong Galanza joined Cafe France-CEU as the 15th pick and former San Beda Red Cub Chris Javier went to his high school team's senior counterparts Red Lions, representing Hapee, as the 21st pick.

Dan Alberto joined incoming squad MP Hotel as the 35th pick, the 11th selection of the third round, while Gino Jumao-as and Mark Olayon went to Tanduay and Cagayan respectively as the first two picks of the fourth round.

Ivan Hernandez and Ronnie De Leon were also tabbed by the Rising Suns and the Rhummasters respectively in the fifth round.

MP Hotel, owned by Kia coach Manny Pacquiao, made its first draft move by going for former UV Green Lancer Wowie Escosio with the 11th pick.

Incoming collegiate teams AMA and Lyceum, representing Bread House, decided to bring the entirety of their respective squads to the D-League.

The complete PBA D-League Draft results can be seen in the PBA's Facebook page.
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