Is 30-point game-saving feat Chris Tiu’s curtain call?
Chris Tiu may be the last of basketball’s gentlemen, a genuine class act on and off the court who has proven that nice guys do not always finish last.
But a career dotted with championships in college and in the pros and unparalleled devotion to the national team may have reached its end in the form of a 30-point explosion that rescued Rain or Shine and towed it to a 107-101 victory over NLEX in the Governors’ Cup Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Tiu saved the import-less Elasto Painters with the kind of shooting he had always been known for and, in a gesture thick with foreshadowing, his teammates ran him through several screens, urging him to keep shooting. Later, teammates and coaching staff embraced him as he went to the bench with 25.4 seconds left.
“This is what it feels like when your teammates are always looking for you and wanting you to shoot,” Tiu said. “They kept looking for me, setting screens for me and if I missed, they urged me to shoot again. This is what it feels like and it feels good.”
Not only was Rain or Shine without an import, the Elasto Painters also played without stars Maverick Ahanmisi, Beau Belga and Raymond Almazan.
“Our bigs played well but Chris played his heart out and like you said, maybe he’s retiring but … with 30 points he shouldn’t retire,” said Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia.
The 33-year-old Tiu, a member of the original Gilas team in 2009 before he was selected as the seventh overall pick by the Elasto Painters in the 2012 Draft, said he is still uncertain of his future.
“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,” Tiu said. “I think I can still play. I mean, today, I don’t know how many minutes I played but I felt pretty good.”
In the second game, Meralco came up strong in the last two quarters to rout San Miguel Beer, 111-81.