CHRIS Tiu, the celebrated Rain or Shine rookie, has one piece of advice for Barako Bull players upon learning that Rajko Toroman is in negotiations for the head-coaching job with the George Chua-owned franchise.
“Handa ninyo na mga ice packs after practice … at mga tubig,” Tiu said with a laugh in a Spin.ph interview.
The former Ateneo star certainly knows whereof he speaks. As a member of the original Smart Gilas-Pilipinas coached by Toroman, Tiu had known the ways of the Serbian mentor and was among his trusted players when he called the shots for the national team from 2008 to 2011.
Toroman, who steered the Iran national team to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has long been known as a disciplinarian with a Draconian approach to training.
Reports from the Petron camp said his strict training regimen was among the reasons why majority of Petron players loathed him enough to force him out of his consultant role.
“Grabe yan,” bared a Petron player, who refused to be named. “Alas dose matatapos ang practice namin, tapos dapat 1 p.m. nasa gym na uli kami. Kaya `yung iba hindi na nagagalaw `yung packed lunch nila. Saging na lang (ang kinakain).”
But for someone who had worked under Toroman for so long, Tiu doesn’t have any qualms about how his former coach ran his training sessions.
“It’s interesting to see how he will turn Barako around,” said Tiu, selected No. 7 overall by the Elasto Painters in the last rookie draft.
“I’m happy for him. I’d like to see him on the court, not sitting behind the bench or in the spectators’ seats. He is fit to run a team. He has experience, his technical and tactical know-how. He can help any team he’ll be in.”
Tiu said until now he is surprised at the sudden turn of events that saw the Serb pursue a head coaching job with Barako after his appeal for his two-year contract as Petron consultant was granted by the San Miguel management.
If and when the deal with Barako Bull pushes through, the popular cager and showbiz personality said he doesn’t foresee possible player movements within the team. But he agreed that the 57-year-old Toroman is more comfortable utilizing younger players in his team.
“I won’t be surprised pag nangyari `yun. His system needs players to move a lot, to be fast-paced. If the existing Barako players can keep up, good. Either he (Toroman) will adjust to them, or they will have to adjust to his style.”
And in parting, Tiu said he will be more than happy seeing Toroman calling the shots from the bench again.
“I’d love him to be a coach, but since I am with Rain or Shine, lalong mahihirapan ang trabaho namin,” said Tiu, who has long treated Toroman as a second father.