No more Mr. Nice Guy: Tiu at peace with decision to retire
For the last three years, Chris Tiu tiptoed around the decision to retire. He was a reluctant pro in the first place, the lure of the PBA not as powerful on him as it was on other college graduates during his time.
And he had a lot of basketball outlet anyway, being part of the initial Gilas Pilipinas program. Eventually, he did make the leap and enjoyed a relatively successful stint with Rain or Shine in the PBA.
But he had his businesses to attend to and a family he wanted to watch grow.
And that made the decision to walk away from the game easier.
“I think I’m at peace now,” the Rain or Shine guard told the press during the recent PBA Press Corps’ annual awards night at Novotel in Quezon City.
“[This] is a decision that was supposed to be made three years ago. I’ve extended my career already for a few years and I am glad that I was able to have the chance to play more minutes—especially last year,” he added.
Tiu, only 33, grappled with the idea of retirement late last year even while his numbers peaked to career-best heights. He averaged 10.7 in scoring, 2.8 in rebounding and 3.97 in assists in the 35 games he played.
The six-year pro revealed that he had come to terms with the decision during a game victorious stand against NLEX on Nov. 6, where he set a career-high performance of 30 points.
“Before the game, I was already pretty sure. My teammates knew it, too. I said farewell to all of them,” he said. “That’s why they kept on passing me the ball even though I was misfiring. They really wanted me to end on a high note.”
Everybody started whispering about his retirement after that game. And on Jan. 8, he made it official via a Twitter post.
“It’s now time to move on,” he wrote, adding that his “heart is full.”
“Basketball was a part of my life forever and it’s definitely a transition to a new phase of my life. But at the same time, I felt also relieved in the the way that I don’t have anymore commitments,” said Tiu, who had built a career out of being Mr. Nice Guy from his days with the Ateneo Blue Eagles to the national team and until the pros.
“Being part of a professional team takes a lot of dedication and commitment. To stay in shape, keep getting better and to be able to help the team, that’s one thing that’s off my back. And to be able to finally make it official, to make it known, I’m kind of relieved,” he said.
And the next phase of his life is about to start.
“I’ve been working on a lot of projects, personal and with the family,” he said.
And retirement’s biggest draw?
“I’ve been spending a lot more time with the kids. It’s not just the amount of time but the quality of the bonding. You’re no longer tired, you’re no longer in a hurry to sleep to wake up early and to be rested the next day for training or for a game. You get to enjoy your weekends,” he said.
“Now, I can plan ahead and really cherish every moment with my family,” Tiu added, with a certainty that left no doubt that there was no turning back from his decision to leave the game.