CHRIS Tiu couldn’t have chosen a better time to watch a Rain or Shine game for the first time since retiring last year.
The 33-year-old guard was at ringside of the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday and witnessed his former team grab the first semifinal berth in the PBA Philippine Cup following a 91-85 win over NorthPort in the quarterfinals.
Tiu sat beside team owner Raymund Yu the entire game, which the Elasto Painters dominated to the delight of their former teammate.
The crafty guard out of Ateneo later said it was his first time to watch Rain or Shine in action since he retired last year after a six-year stint with the franchise that picked him seventh overall in the 2012 rookie draft.
“I just wanted to support them in this important quarterfinal game,” he said.
“Today it just so happened na I’m in town, there’s nothing going, walang events or family gathering. And tamang-tama it’s a Sunday. So sabi ko I’m going to watch the game, nag-promise kasi ako sa kanila na susuporta ako,” said Tiu.
Since playing his last PBA game on Nov. 3, 2018 in a 107-101 win over NLEX, Tiu said he hasn’t played the game at all. But he did keep the line of communication open with his former teammates through calls and text messages.
“Since that time hindi pa kami nagkikita, so it’s nice to see everybody again,” he said.
Before and after the game, Tiu personally went to the Rain or Shine dugout, but didn’t say anything during the team huddle.
“Kinamusta ko lang sila. Alam naman nila kung ano ang gagawin nila, e,” he added.
In a way, he admitted missing the life of a basketball player.
“Na-miss din, 'yung energy, 'yung competition,” said Tiu. “Nakaka-miss yung routine na pupunta ka sa game na may dala kang bag, warm-ups, stretch, tapes, and mentally nagpe-prepare ka.”
But more than that, it’s the camaraderie which he had established with the Elasto Painters that he’s been longing for.
“More than that, yung samahan namin. Siyempre ang tagal din naming nagsama at naging magkakaibigan din kami,” Tiu added.
So he was more than happy seeing Rain or Shine doing good even in his retirement.
“It’s nice to see them playing well, and getting to the semifinals, and hopefully the finals,” he said.