Tiu may just join PBA draft this timeBy Francis T.J. Ochoa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Chris Tiu admitted that he was devastated when the Smart Gilas program was discontinued—justifiably so since the guy virtually donated blood and guts to the squad for three years—to the point that he wanted to quit basketball altogether.
But the lives he touched while playing basketball have made him consider applying for this year’s PBA draft.
“Right now, I’m 60-40 (percentage-wise) or 55-45 in favor of applying for the draft,” said Tiu. “There was a time, however, when I asked myself if I should continue playing basketball.”
Tiu had skipped several editions of the PBA draft citing just one reason—he wanted to make sure he was always available for national team duties. But recent developments undertaken by decision-makers of the sport have made him reconsider his stand.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has adopted a new blueprint in its approach to the national team, opting to go with all-PBA rosters plus one naturalized player for major meets.
Tiu had been invited to join the cadet squad of the new program. The cadet squad would represent the country in minor meets like Southeast Asian tournaments.
But the former Smart Gilas skipper, who valiantly led the team during its fourth-place run in the 2010 Fiba Asia Olympic qualifier, had wanted to join the squad that will compete for a slot in the World Championship.
That squad, handled by coach Chot Reyes, is preparing for the Jones Cup next month.
“I wanted to be part of the team to the Jones Cup and I really wanted to be part of the main Smart Gilas team,” said Tiu, who graced the launch of the Adidas King of the Road race. “I expressed that need to those who make the decisions but they decided to go with an all-PBA team.”
“I respect that decision,” said Tiu, who said he was crushed when he learned that the initial Smart Gilas program was shelved.
“I was devastated when the program was discontinued,” said Tiu. “After the Olympic qualifiers, I was assured that the program would continue, that we would build a new team of amateurs who will train together and try to qualify for the World Championships.”
“That was the reason why I didn’t apply for the draft last year. I was really hopeful because the program was successful. We fell short but we proved it could work. The guys in the team worked really hard, were dedicated, committed and passionate about representing the country and we really felt we could compete against the best in Asia.”
Tiu said that if he does decide to join the PBA, it would be for the fans.
“It would be 90 percent because of the fans,” said the sweet-shooting guard. “Wherever I go, people come to me and make me realize that basketball is still the best platform to reach out, touch and inspire lives.”
Tiu said he feels strongly that basketball will help him promote his different advocacies. Tiu is a staunch supporter of Habitat for Humanity, World Vision and environmental programs. The former Ateneo hotshot will make his decision next week, before the Aug. 4 deadline for application for the PBA draft.