CHRIS Tiu considers it a blessing to play for Rain or Shine in his first two seasons as a pro despite playing in a guard-heavy roster under coach Yeng Guiao.
His minutes may pale in comparison to his rookie batchmates like June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer, Alaska’s flamboyant forward Calvin Abueva, Meralco Fil-Am workhorse Cliff Hodge and the slamdunking Chris Ellis, but Tiu’s first two seasons has been marked by three trips to the Finals and six semifinal appearances.
Rain or Shine begins battle against San Mig Coffee in Game One of the Governors’ Cup Finals at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at the MOA Arena.
“It’s an honor to play under one of the most reputable coaches in the league,” Tiu said, who has managed to earn his spot as a point guard under Guiao.
“Initially, when I was drafted by Rain or Shine, madami nagsasabi na wala ka nang posisyon diyan kasi ang dami nang guwardya, pero naging blessing in the disguise pa actually siya kasi under coach Yeng’s system, coach uses almost all 15 guys as much as possible every game,” he added.
Tiu said by playing hard and being committed to playing defense, he gets the chance to be part of Guiao’s deep player rotation this season.
The 6-foot former Smart Gilas member averaged 4.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 15.4 minutes in the Governors’ Cup as he shares the point guard job with combo guard Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood and sometimes, third-string playmaker Tyrone Tang.
The former Ateneo Blue Eagle guard is also happy to regularly train with and learn from four members of the Gilas Pilipinas pool.
“Playing with the (Gilas) guys, who are among the best players in the country, everyday, I play with them, eh siyempre mapapalaban ka, so mag-i-improve din ang game mo,” he said.