MAJOR changes in the national basketball program have kept Chris Tiu out of basketball for a few months, but he has remained deeply involved in the sport through his advocacy for grassroots development.
And that advocacy will be one of the reasons that could convince him to go back to the playing court, this time as a pro in the PBA.
The former Smart Gilas skipper, who recently declined a spot in new national coach Chot Reyes' cadet pool, is expected to take his act to Asia's first professional cage league. The deadline for the filing of application for the PBA rookie draft is on Friday.
A PBA career may come a bit late in the day for the longtime amateur star, but Tiu insists he needs a presence at the top level of basketball to lend credibility to a program that hopes to develop the sport from the grassroots which he recently launched.
“When people see you play basketball on the court, and if they like the way you play, they enjoy your style of playing, what you can contribute as a player, doon sila hahanga sa iyo e. Doon sila bibilib sa iyo and it will give you more credibility,” said Tiu.
“If they (kids) don’t see you playing, they will think, ‘Sino ba iyan, ano ba ang kaya niyang gawin, bakit namin pakikinggan ang tinuturo niya?’ I think it will be most effective if I’m able to play sa high level and people see that.”
The 27-year-old Tiu recently started an instructional segment on television called 1-on-1 Tiu-torials, which has started airing on AKTV via IBC 13.
“For me I feel the two go hand in hand, if you’re able to have a very well-produced, well-conceptualized sports segment and you supplement it with being keen on sports.”
The segment features Tiu teaching basketball skills — from the fundamentals to the more advanced — to children as well as players from corporate leagues and barangay tournaments.
“It’s not really straight up one-on-one, talking to the camera, of course there’s a little of that but there’s real interaction with kids but not just kids, yung liga ng mga barangay… bibisitahin rin namin 'yan,” said Tiu.
“Marami na tayong nakita sa internet, instructional, how to shoot the ball, how to pass the ball, the proper form… we’re doing something different,” said the former Ateneo hotshot.
Ironically, the show is the first in the sports gender for the cage star, who has hosted a lot of TV shows for GMA 7 over the last five years. And naturally, he is elated.
“I’m very excited kasi ito talaga ang linya ko e, nakilala naman ako dahil sa basketball, because of the UAAP. I never had a sports show after so many years of being on TV. Kaya nga excited ako,” said Tiu.