CHARLES Tiu may be a young coach tasked to handle a Mighty Sports squad full of battle-tested veterans set to compete in the Dubai International Basketball Tournament next week.
But the youthful mentor remains confident he’s up to the task as he’s not lacking in experience, with stints as an assistant coach with Powerade and Barako Bull in the PBA.
"It's a bit of a challenge but the good thing is I have already experience doing it in the past for most parts in the PBA, most of the guys are older than me," Tiu said.
The 27-year-old Tiu also served as assistant to Bo Perasol when Mighty sports won the 2016 William Jones Cup, before taking over in the Merlion Cup and getting close to winning the title before Jimmer Fredette’s free throws spoiled the party for his head coaching debut.
For the Dubai tournament, Tiu has another deep, talented team at his disposal—including a former PBA MVP in Willie Miller, two former NBA players in Hasheem Thabeet and Dominic McGuire, and a handful of pros led by his older brother Chris. For the young coach, the lineup has just the right mix of veterans and upstarts with a common factor bringing them all together.
"One thing I've really considered is, I want guys who are character guys. I didn't get any headaches who will cause me problems because chemistry is very important to the team," he said.
Tiu hopes that the heartbreak from Singapore won't follow them all the way to Dubai as they seek redemption for the Philippines in the annual Middle Eastern tournament.
"Well obviously, we want to win the championship. At the very least, we want to make the semifinals and just put on a good show for our fans," Tiu said.
"The last few years, the Philippine representative hasn't done well in the tournament and they're actually hesitant to invite us. But we were given a shot, so hopefully we reward the people who have had faith in us and just to create a bigger following for our team," he added.