Will Tiu provide finesse to ROS?By Beth Celis
Philippine Daily Inquirer
I SMILED to myself when PBA commissioner Chito Salud announced during last Sunday’s Rookie Draft at Robinsons Midtown that Rain or Shine had picked Chris Tiu.
The former Smart Gilas stalwart was the seventh overall pick and the Elasto Painters’ first draftee.
Some weeks before the event, I spoke to Tiu and he expressed some misgivings about applying for the draft because, among other things, he said the games in the pro league had become so rough and physical.
At that time, B-Meg and Rain or Shine were engaged in a best-of-seven championship series, and Llamados coach Tim Cone openly complained about the Elasto Painters’ physicality.
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Having been picked by the Elasto Painters, I wanted to tease Tiu that he would not find it necessary to condition himself for the rough plays in the league.
But I never got the chance. Although I saw him on my way out of the drafting area, he was too busy posing for pictures and signing autographs.
I had also wanted to relay to him a discussion we had at our table while the seventh pick was being announced. The guys from AKTV, the bloggers, and player agent Danny Espiritu were wondering if Tiu’s presence would give finesse to Rain or Shine’s brand of play. Or would the Elasto Painters’ rugged, physical play rub off on Tiu?
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said on television last Sunday that he had not planned on picking Tiu.
“I had thought I wouldn’t be able to tap him because of the draft order,” said Guiao. “But since he was still there for the picking, when our turn came, I jumped on the chance.”
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I also wanted to approach the Meralco table to take a look at Boyet Fernandez’s face up close. Fernandez, head coach of D-League team NLEX, is the deputy of Meralco mentor Ryan Gregorio. NLEX had nine players in the draft pool.
Was Fernandez’s eyes welling with tears as his NLEX Road Warriors were called to the podium one by one? All nine were picked.
Calvin Abueva was picked second overall by Alaska, Cliff Hodge was tapped fourth overall by Meralco, Chris Ellis (sixth) by Ginebra, Woody Co (12th) by B-Meg, Dave Marcelo (15th) and Eman Monfort (18th) by Barako Bull, Jaypee Belencion (20th) by Talk ‘N Text, Carl Dehesa (22nd) by Alaska and Eric Suguitan (34th) by Meralco.
But Fernandez’s table was a long walk from where I was seated. I had to wait until the following day to touch base with him.
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Fernandez admitted that he was very emotional throughout the draft. He said he had mixed emotions.
“I was both happy and sad,” he said. “Happy that my players were moving upward; sad that I was losing them. I’m very proud of them. I shed tears because I was happy that somehow I had been part or their career. Now it is up to the players to work hard for a slot in the teams that drafted them. To all of you guys, congratulations and good luck.”
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HOOPVINE: Lito Alvarez is back as Air21 board representative after a stint as Bureau of Customs Commissioner. He attended last Sundays PBA draft … Dickie Bachmann is also a new face in the board… The PBA has allowed each team to assign two alternate governors to the board starting this season. Dickie was appointed to the board recently by Alaska … The Mandaluyong Gym is one venue where round girls of boxing are not met with lascivious hoots and catcalls. “That’s because Mandaluyong residents are really into boxing. They really like the sport,” said a fellow scribe.
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