Chris Tiu delivers career game in possible swan song in Rain or Shine win
In what could be his final PBA game, Chris Tiu may have just saved his best for last after leading a shorthanded Rain or Shine side over NLEX, 107-101, in the 2018 Governors’ Cup Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Tiu, a genuine class act on and off the court, delivered a career-game with 30 points as the Elasto Painters won despite playing without an import and with several of their key players in Maverick Ahanmisi, Beau Belga and Raymond Almazan out.
“Our bigs played well but at the end of the day, Chris played his heart out and like you said, maybe he’s retiring but I don’t know, with 30 points he shouldn’t retire,” said Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia.
The 33-year-old Tiu, who was a member of the original Gilas team formed in 2009 before he was selected as the seventh overall pick by the Elasto Painters in the 2012 PBA Draft, said he is still uncertain of his future at this point, although, the game indicated otherwise with his teammates and coaching staff embracing him as he went to the bench with 25.4 seconds left.
“We’ll see. My contract is expiring I think in November or December this year. I have to talk to our bosses Raymond and Terry, see what they have in mind and then, make the announcement maybe,” Tiu told reporters during the post-game press conference.
Tiu eclipsed his previous career-high of 24 points at the 8:23 mark of the fourth quarter with three free throws that gave the Painters a 94-78 lead. He hit a triple less than a minute later before making two more freebies for his final points that momentarily stopped the Road Warriors’ big run with 2:33 remaining.
“We were not favored to win this game. For me, just play hard and if we lose it’s okay because we’re undermanned, we had no import. There were no expectations to win that’s why I’m proud of my teammates especially to the guys who don’t usually a lot of minutes and to coach Caloy of course,” Tiu said.
“Everybody fought hard today and played with a lot of heart,” he added.
The former Ateneo star played close to 33 minutes and also had four rebounds, five assists, one steal and a block.
Jewel Ponferada added 13 points while Dexter Maiquez and Norbert Torres scored 12 points apiece for Rain or Shine, which ended their season with a 3-8 mark.
Aaron Fuller had 29 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for the quarterfinals-bound NLEX (5-6), which blew a 16-point lead.