CHRIS Tiu feels a lot for troubled Rain or Shine teammate Raymond Almazan, but stressed there is a lot of work to be done for the Elasto Painters in their ongoing PBA Governors Cup campaign.
The veteran guard was quick to set aside the issue surrounding Almazan after coming through with a career-best 23 points as the team whipped NorthPort, 120-98, to put together its first winning streak in the season-ending conference on Wednesday night.
Tiu had 15 of his output in the fourth period to help Rain or Shine improve at 2-4 despite the contiuous absence of their 6-foot-8 center.
While Tiu admitted the team misses Almazan's solid presence inside, the players are trying not get affected by it.
"Yung mga players hindi naman naapektuhan yung laro," he said at the Astrodome.
Is it a distraction?
"Hindi," was Tiu's curt reply.
The Ateneo guard added without Almazan, this should be the perfect time for the team's other big men to prove their worth.
"Ang dami naming bigs, under-utiized pa nga sila (Norbert) Torres, si Jewel (Ponferada), si Dexter Maiquez," said Tiu. "Magandang opportunity ito para sa ibang hindi nagagamit."
Tiu said he hadn't personally talked to Almazan, with who he played with as part of the Rain or Shine-backed national team to the recent 18th Asian Games.
But as long-time teammate, Tiu said he's hoping Almazan will finally be able to put an end to the issue bugging him.
"More of concern kami sa pinag-dadaanan niya," he added. "Bilang kaibigan, matagal na kaming magkasama, so siyempre concern kami sa kanya. And we hope everything turns out ok."
Everything is actually turning out fine for the Elasto Painters, who remained in strong contention for a quarterfinals berth after their back-to-back wins and with five more games left in their schedule.
Rain or Shine still has to play winless Columbian Dyip, Phoenix, San Miguel, Meralco, and NLEX.