TRUE to his word, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao gave popular rookie Chris Tiu some playing time in their PBA Philippine Cup game against Barangay Ginebra, and the former Ateneo and national team star didn’t disappoint.
Tiu, the no. 7 overall pick in the last rookie Draft, acquitted himself well in only his second game as a full-time pro as he finished with eight points,two rebounds, an assist, and a pair of steal in 20 minutes of action.
He was even inside the playing court all the way to the homestretch of the Kings' come-from-behind 97-90 win over the Elasto Painters.
Guiao on Saturday disclosed to Spin.ph his plan to field in Tiu even for a few minutes against the Kings after coming off a month’s inactivity owing to a hamstring injury.
“If ever, baka ipasok ko siya for a few minutes, (give him the opportunity to) get the feel of the crowd and the atmosphere,” said Guiao.
The capacity crowd at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum exploded into wild cheers the moment Tiu rose from the bench and went to the scorer’s table. He finally entered the match with less than two minutes left in the first quarter and the Elasto Painters up, 28-17.
He made his first basket off a feed from JR Quinahan, and then nailed a three-pointer with 8:46 to go in the second period that gave Rain or Shine its biggest lead of the game, 43-25.
“I just want to make a feel of the game and get my rhythm going,” said Tiu at the half. “I just don’t want to overexert myself.”
Tiu injured his hamstring during his first game as a pro last October 3 against Petron Blaze.