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Mo Tautuaa did not allow San Miguel to lose vs Meralco, beams Austria

Mo Tautuaa impressed again on Wednesday night, further showing that he is starting to settle into his role as the primary center of San Miguel.

The 6-foot-8 bruiser finished with a game-high 23 points on a 53-percent clip alongside five boards to power the Beermen past Meralco, 89-82.

The reigning, five-time champs collected their third win in a row after resuming its 2020 PBA Philippine Cup campaign with back-to-back losses.

“I have to commend his attitude tonight,” lauded SMB head coach Leo Austria moments after the win that hiked their card to 4-2.

The Beermen found it hard to break away early in the match. On the other hand, the Bolts found their rhythm and zoomed to a 13-point lead in the third canto.

“We were not playing our game,” said Austria.

“Maybe because the players were too eager to beat Meralco right away.”

Thankfully for them, there was Tautuaa. He produced half of SMB’s 14-2 run to open the final frame, putting them on top, 74-71, with 9:15 to go.

He was also key in keeping Meralco at bay, scoring off a foul against Cliff Hodge — then flexed — then sank the bonus to make it 79-73 with 6:12 left.

“We’re able to let him do what we want him to do, especially posting up. We know our opponent is having a hard time stopping him at the post,” said Austria.

Tautuaa, meanwhile, is just thankful to have the trust and the support of the coaches and San Miguel’s revered veterans.

After Wednesday’s win, the Fil-Tongan cager is now averaging a team-best 18.3 points on 60-percent shooting, with 7.3 boards and 3.0 assists.

“We got a lot of vets on the team, and they encourage us to continue to do better,” said the 31-year-old.

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Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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