FOR Rain or Shine, it was like hitting the jackpot in the lottery.
Surprised to find the popular Chris Tiu still available when it was the team's turn to make a decision at No. 7 in the PBA draft, the Elasto Painters wasted no time making the former national team member their lone selection in the first round.
Coach Yeng Guiao admitted having a different name in mind and was happily surprised to find the one-time team captain of Smart-Gilas Pilipinas still available at that late stage of the first round.
“Nagulat kami. Hindi namin akalain na aabutan pa namin siya,” said Guiao, who recently steered Rain or Shine to the Governors Cup championship. “We thought by that time, wala na. Pero andun pa siya.”
Apparently, the feeling is mutual for Tiu.
“I’m so happy because Rain or Shine is also close to my heart,” he admitted.
Rain or Shine guard Ty Tang has a lot to do with that.
“He’s a a close friend and teammate sa grade school at Xavier. So reunion namin ito,” said the former Ateneo stalwart.
Hours after the draft, the popular player took to Twitter to express his excitement over the idea of teaming up with his longtime friend who played for rival school La Salle in their college days.
Aside from further enhancing the team’s image, Guiao believes the arrival of Tiu will also be a big help to augment the hurting backcourt of Rain or Shine as sophomore point guard Pau Lee is still recuperating from his operation from a dislocated left shoulder.
“Malaking bagay siya sa amin especially with Paul out for the first few months of the season,” said Guiao.
A team known for its tough persona, Rain or Shine players readily welcomed the addition of Tiu to its roster.
“Ituturo natin sa kanya lahat ng puwedeng ituro,” said big man Beau Belga, admittedly one of the most vilified players in the Rain or Shine lineup.