IF there’s one silver lining for rookie Chris Tiu in Rain or Shine’s loss in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals against champion Talk 'N Text, it’s the reassurance that he has the license to be aggressive in his new team.
And he vows to have the same attitude in the coming Commissioner’s Cup.
“That’s one bright spot I think. I feel more comfortable now coming off the screens, attacking more, and looking for my shot,” the seventh overall pick in the 2012 rookie draft said. “I’m hoping to carry that on to the next conference, knowing that it’s okay for the team for me to be more aggressive and to take more shots.”
The 27-year-old guard felt he had not been as assertive as he would have wanted in the first two games of the Finals, taking just a total of seven shots and averaging 2.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, and one assist in eight minutes.
The former Gilas national team mainstay only began to attack more during Game Three of the title series, when coach Yeng Guiao opted to start him and exploit his height advantage against Tropang Texters skipper Jimmy Alapag.
The ploy did work as Tiu scored a team-high 14 points on 13 attempts and three free throws in 22 minutes of action.
In the four games that he played in the Finals, the former Ateneo skipper averaged 5.8 points, 1.5 rebounds, and one assist in 14 minutes of play.
“Looking back, I thought I could’ve been more aggressive. I started being aggressive just in the last two games,” Tiu said. “In a way, I was also feeling out my teammates, coach (Yeng), and the system.”
That he was less active late in the eliminations and even during the quarterfinals and semifinals was understandable. Tiu was still finding his groove back after a hamstring injury sidelined him in the early part of the All-Filipino conference.
“But I was given the green light,” he continued. “And I think that’s what coach wants from me and all the players. Sometimes I want to be sure. I don’t want to force shots. I want to set up my teammates. But sometimes it makes me more passive when I set up the team.”
While he failed to win a championship in his very first conference, Tiu still considers his the Finals stint as an achievement for a rookie like him.
“It would’ve been sweet and perfect if we won the championship in my rookie conference, but definitely I still see it as a blessing. I thank the Lord for letting us compete in the Finals. Just to get here is an achievement in itself," the former Ateneo star said.
“Definitely it’s a learning experience for us,” he added. “We know what we have to work on and that’s the mindset we need to have. We shouldn’t be too down about it. Of course we’re not happy about it. We just have to think maturely and try to have an open mind and understand what we could’ve done better to improve.”