YENG Guiao admits the drafting of longtime amateur hotshot Chris Tiu will be a big boost to the popularity and marketability of the Rain or Shine team as well as the brand it represents.
But he also knows one thing: the move must also work basketball-wise to make sense.
From the moment Tiu walked into the main activity center of Robinsons Midtown Mall to loud shrieks from fans, there was no doubt in Guiao’s mind that the former Ateneo star and part-time TV personality was easily the most popular player to join the rookie draft in years.
That was all the more validated when the loudest cheer of the night rang out after Tiu’s name was called as the seventh pick overall of Rain or Shine.
“Obvious naman, kasi ‘di na halos pinag-uusapan ang mga naunang picks sa draft. Makikita natin kung gaano kalakas ang sigawan ng mga tao nung tinawag na ang pangalan ni Chris Tiu,” said the veteran Elasto Painters mentor.
“Ganun kataas ang marketing value niya kasi siya talaga ang binigyang pansin ng mga tao.”
The Painters, who were coming off the first championship in franchise history in the Governors’ Cup, have the youngest team in the league and had no plan to tinker much with their lineup or make a significant move in Sunday’s draft.
That was until Tiu, snubbed by teams like Petron, Alaska, B-Meg, Barako Bull and Meralco, all but fell on the the Painters’ lap.
“Kami na kasi halos ang pinakabatang team sa liga, so we thought di na namin kailangang magbago masyado ng lineup through the draft,” said Guiao. “But when we saw Tiu was still available, kinuha na namin siya agad.”
Guiao admits Tiu brings high marketing value to the company and a major boost to the Painters’ following. But he added that the drafting of Tiu should also translate into success on the floor for the union to be considered a success.
“No matter how glamorous your team is, if you don’t win, panandalian lang ang pogi points,” said Guiao. “Importante pa rin yung winning points.”
As it is, Tiu will have a big responsibility on his shoulders the moment he joins the team since he will be tasked to fill the gap left by Paul Lee, who will sit out the first few months of the season while he recovers from shoulder surgery.
And once Lee becomes healthy, the 5-10 gunner will have to compete for minutes in the backcourt with grade school pal TY Tang, Rookie of the Year Lee and Most Improved Player Jeff Chan.