Tiu still has more to show, says coaches Guiao, Garcia
Chris Tiu is at a crossroads in his celebrated basketball career, but whether he chooses to hang up his sneakers or keep playing, one thing remains certain on Saturday night.
“I think I can still play,” Tiu said. “I mean, today, I don’t know how many minutes I played but I felt pretty good.”
“So this is what it feels like when your teammates are always looking for you and wanting you to shoot,” he said with a chuckle “They kept looking for me, setting screens for me and if I miss they urge me to shoot again. This is what it feels like and it feels good.”
Not only can he still play, he is still going strong at 33 years old after playing the best basketball of his life this season capped off by a career performance to lead Rain or Shine past NLEX, 107-101, and his former longtime coach Yeng Guiao in a game where the Elasto Painters weren’t supposed to win.
In his possible swan song, Tiu unleashed 30 points on top of four rebounds and five assists with the Painters playing all-Filipino and missing several of their key players in Beau Belga, Maverick Ahanmisi and Raymond Almazan.
“This year I think was his best in his whole career especially the second conference. I hope or I wish that he can still play one more year. I think this year was his best,” said Rain or Shine head coach Caloy Garcia.
“I’m happy with my performance. I think given all my other commitments, I did what I could to help the team, to be in the best physical shape to lead the team to victory as much as I can and I’m very thankful to coach Caloy because he really gave me the opportunity this year,” Tiu said. “He really trusted me and allowed me to play my game especially during the most important stretches of the game.”
Like Garcia, Guiao believes Tiu still has a lot more to give.
“Maybe he’ll change his mind later tonight because he saw that his body can still take it and I’m sure he’d be welcome with open arms by Rain or Shine management,” said Guiao, who picked Tiu as the seventh overall pick in the 2012 PBA Draft.
“Chris is still good for another couple of years but as I’ve said, he might have different priorities at this point in his life.”