CHRISTMAS is about sharing, among other things, but not for Chris Tiu on the court these days.
The veteran Rain or Shine playmaker has taken a more conscious effort to be more aggressive on offense, as seen in the team’s 82-79 win over TNT KaTropa in their PBA Philippine Cup opener on Friday night.
Averaging less than six points per game for his career, Tiu scored 12 points and dished out just one assist while adding three boards, and one steal in over 23 minutes as a starter in his season debut.
“I’m trying to be more offensive-minded – I'm more scoring-minded, if there's such a word,” Tiu said. “Before, I was pass-first, but with the departure of some of our scorers, we have to fill in.”
“My offseason has been surprisingly good,” he added. “I played a couple of (good) games in the offseason. My prayer is to stay healthy throughout the season.”
With no Paul Lee or Jeff Chan anymore, Tiu is taking it upon himself to be among the E-Painters new go-to guys – with the blessing of coach Caloy Garcia.
“For me I think yung confidence is much higher now especially I know that I'll be playing a lot of minutes than before,” the former Ateneo gunner said. “That makes a difference in any athlete's confidence if you know you're gonna get minutes. Coach Caloy has showed that he's been trusting me now more.”
“I think also this is my sixth year in the PBA, I think dapat lang naka-adjust na 'ko. It's been too long,” he added. “Naturally as a player I'm more of a pass-first player, but I'm kinda changing my mentality to be more aggressive just to facilitate and be more of a leader, especially now that we have a lot of young guys and new personalities in the team.”
On Friday, Tiu showed he can score when it matters, firing nine of his output in the second half of a nip-and-tuck battle against the Texters.
“I think it's a good test for us,” Tiu said. “Early on we're playing close games, because towards the end of the elimination round and in the playoffs, if ever we make it there, we’ll be playing a lot of close games so we have to get accustomed to that.”
“Especially now that a lot of us used to be second stringers, and now were closing out games without Paul Lee, without Jeff Chan, JR Quiñahan, so it’s me, maybe Daquioag sometimes, maybe Trollano or Almazan. So, you know, its a good practice for us as we move forward in the season,” he added.