DIGOS CITY - Rain or Shine rookie Chris Tiu hit a record-tying 21 points in the finals to rule this year’s three-point shootout on Friday during the PBA Annual All-Star festivities at the Davao del Sur Coliseum.
Tiu, a darkhorse entering the competition, nosed out Air21’s Nino Canaleta (18) and Alaska’s JV Casio (13) in the Finals behind a flurry of baskets in the final two racks.
“Nakaka-inspire yung cheer ng mga fans. But going to the competition, I just prayed to God na ma-glorify ko siya and just stay mentally focused,” Tiu told sports scribes shortly after receiving his P40,000 cash prize from league commissioner Chito Salud.
He succeeded Barako Bull’s Mark Macapagal, whose three-year reign finally ended after bombing out during the preliminary phase with just 11 points.
Tiu said he hasn’t touched a basketball since Rain or Shine lost to Barangay Ginebra during the knockout game of their quarterfinal round more than a week ago.
But the 27-year-old Tiu woke up early on Friday and took the time to shoot some hoops at the Genesis 88 gym, some 10 minutes away from Marco Polo Hotel where the All-Star and Skills challenge competitors are billeted.
“It so happened na kinontak ko yung dati kong naging teammate sa Ateneo, si Miggy Solitaria na may camp nun sa Genesis 88. In-invite niya narin ako mag-speak sa camp kaya dun na ako nakapag-shooting ng mga 15 minutes,” he added.
Tiu became just the third rookie since Jasper Ocampo and Jimmy Alapag to bag the three-point shootout.
At the same time, Tiu’s 21 points equalled the finals record shared by Allan Caidic (1991), Will Antonio (2006) and James Yap (2009) en route to winning the title.