Meet the shy childhood sweetheart who became Mrs. Chris Tiu
Chris Tiu's wife Clarisse watches the Rain or Shine-Petron game from ringside over the weekend in the company of the basketball star's brother Charles. Snow Badua

MEET the shy mystery girl who by now should be the envy of thousands of basketball fans after tying the knot with basketball poster-boy Chris Tiu.

She is the former Clarisse Ong, described by friends and acquaintances as shy and simple and, according to Tiu's closest friends, the only girlfriend the former Ateneo star had since high school.

Both devotees of Mama Mary, the childhood sweethearts were married in a Catholic ceremony in Vancouver, Canada last September 7, with only close family members and friends of the couple in attendance.

So ‘exclusive’ was the Vancouver wedding that only the brother and sister of Clarisse’s parents and an uncle and aunt  of tiu were named as principal sponsors.

Asked why the wedding was held in Vancouver, the popular Rain or Shine guard said: “It’s my favorite city in the world … next to Manila!"

Their belated wedding reception, held last Sunday at Chef Jessie in Rockwell, was also a very private affair with only close family members and friends in attendance.

Unlike her husband who is comfortable before the media even during his college days and has since become a television personality, Clarisse admits she is not used to the glare of the spotlight.

“Si Chris na lang ang tanungin n'yo please,” said the former banker, who like her husband comes from a Filipino-Chinese family, when spotted her watching Rain or Shine's semifinal game against Petron in the company of Tiu's brother Charles at the Big Dome over the weekend.

“Mas sanay kasi siya sa media than me,” Mrs. Tiu added with a giggle.

Wives of Tiu's teammates at Rain or Shine said Mrs. Tiu is really shy by nature, but friendly.

“Mahiyain siya, sometimes nga hindi pa nagpapakita ng emotion," said a wife of a Rain or Shine player who sees Clarisse occasionally during games. "Very meek pero mabait."

Follow the writer on Twitter: @snowbadua