Chris Tiu raring to regain peak form after sitting out over a month due to calf injury
Chris Tiu is set to make his return after being sidelined by a strained calf for over a month when Rain or Shine takes on Phoenix on Sunday. Dante Peralta

THE holiday break has definitely left players eager to get back on the court at the turn of the year.

What more for those who haven't seen action for a longer period of time?

Count Chris Tiu among the latter, as he can’t wait to play again after suffering a strained calf that has sidelined him for over a month now in the PBA Philippine Cup.

Good thing, the Rain or Shine playmaker is expected to finally suit up when the Elasto Painters return to action on Sunday against Phoenix.

“Almost there, itching to play,” Tiu said in a recent chat with SPIN.ph. “I’ve been quite frustrated with what happened because I was already in great shape. I was feeling good about my body and confident, and then this happened, so it really set me back.”

The 31-year-old combo guard last played on November 30, flashing his peak form by putting up 11 points on 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc and 2-of-2 from the foul line, on top of two boards, one assist, while not committing any turnover in 17 minutes in a victory over Mahindra.

But then he suffered his injury in practice, derailing the gains he has made, while also being helpless seeing the E-Painters lose to crowd darlings Ginebra and Star.

“These are the games that you look forward to as a player,” Tiu said. “And watching the games we lost, especially in the endgame, some poor decisions and some lapses, which I felt I could’ve helped somewhat.”

“I don’t know if we would’ve won, but 'yun 'yung masakit – when you know you can contribute something and then you’re sitting and watching on the sidelines,” he added.

While he kept in shape during the break that enabled him to finally be ready, Tiu is careful not to rush his return as the E-Painters try to improve their 4-2 win-loss record.

“I just have to be patient, make sure I recover fully because what’s more important is long term,” Tiu said. “Hopefully we make it to the playoffs and we’ll all be healthy by then.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos