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Fil-Tongan sparks Cebuana’s success

Games Today Ynares Arena
1 p.m. – AMA University vs Cebuana Lhuillier
3 p.m. – Liver Marin vs Café France

Cebuana Lhuillier is enjoying its best basketball since joining the league in 2010.

Coach Boysie Zamar attributed his team’s resurgence to Mo Tautuaa, who signed up with the Gems before the start of the season-ending PBA D-League Foundation Cup.

“I’ve learned a lot of lesson from him. He’s such a professional,” confessed Zamar referring to the 6-foot-7, U.S born Fil-Tongan.

“He’s the one person in the team who has really displayed the true meaning of consistency.”

On Monday Tautuaa bucked stomach flu to help the Gems rolled to their fifth straight win, 81-66, against the struggling Jumbo Plastic Giants. He went on to finish with 16 points and 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double in the conference.

Besides Tautuaa, the Gems are also getting huge games from center Norberto Torres, power forward Jackson Corpuz and guard Simon Enciso as the Gems look every bit the team many believe will be tough to beat this tournament.

Halfway through the elimination round, Zamar starts to feel the heat as the Gems stake their unbeaten record on Thursday when they play their second game in four days against the AMA University Titans – a team eager to get back on track.

Game time is at 1 p.m. at the Ynares Arena.

“Every time you have that kind of run you tend to relax. So I keep reminding the players that this is just a short tournament so we have to win as many games as we can,” Zamar said.

With their size and bench depth the Gems are expected to dominate AMA and clinch their six straight. But the Titans are no pushover.

CaféFrance also tries to extend its winning streak to four games when it takes on Liver Marin in the second game at 3 o’clock.

Coach Egay Macaraya said their experience and maturity should be an advantage for the Bakers [3-1], who are resuming their campaign after a six-day break.