HE has the glamour boy looks, but Chris Tiu can play as tough as his Extra Rice Inc. teammates.
Instead of Rain or Shine toughies Beau Belga and JR Quinahan, it’s Tiu who was at the center of two separate physical plays during the Elasto Painters’ PBA Governors Cup game against the Meralco Bolts on Sunday.
Tiu found himself in a near-scuffle with Meralco’s Kelly Nabong in two separate incidents in the first half, which he was quick to shrug off as all part of the game.
“Kasama sa laro 'yun. Both teams are trying to make the Top Four for a twice-to-beat advantage so expect a physical and intense game,” said Tiu later.
“Dapat maging tough ka. Basketball ito e, physical ang laro.”
Tiu was at the receiving end of a Nabong elbow during one rebound play in the second quarter as he tried to avoid a driving Cliff Hodge.
He later got entangled with the 6-foot-4 Meralco forward during a loose ball play in front of the Bolts bench, a play that saw Jared Dillinger shove a fallen Tiu from behind, earning the former Gilas player a technical foul for second motion.
The former Ateneo stalwart said he’s been used to playing physical games even before, notwithstanding his good looks and boy-next-door image.
“Ever since naman, trained tayo never to back down since high school, college sa Gilas. All levels of play lalo na ngayon sa professional,” said Tiu. “I just try to do everything to help the team. Kung kailangan i-sacrifice yung katawan, ganun talaga.”
Si Kelly, alam naman natin yung reputation niya sa paglalaro e,” he said smiling. “Medyo rugged siya and physical. Minsan nakakasakit yung ginagawa niya sa loob, although di ko alam kung alam niya o hindi.”
But the Rain or Shine guard stressed he leaves everything on the court, and tries to be friendly with every player off it.
“Halos lahat naman ng players naging mag-teammates kayo sa ibang liga. Sila JD, 'yung iba pa, tagal ninyo nang magkakakilala,” he said.
“Kung professional talaga, walang personalan. Trabaho lang ito. Walang cheap shot, wala 'yung nakakasakit. Kung banggaan na di maiiwasan, ok lang.”