MANILA, Philippines — Once in a while, Chris Tiu’s fingerprints are all around a game.
That rare occasion was on display Sunday night. With Gabe Norwood and Raymond Almazan playing in Lebanon, while Jeff Chan and young prospect Mike Tolomia are now in new threads, and after losing Beau Belga to ejection, Tiu simply had to step up.
And he did so with much gusto: 13 points and eight assists en rout to a best player citation in a 94-68 Elasto Painters win over Kia Picanto.
“Nawalan kami ng mga offensive weapons,” the former Gilas guard said. “Obviously, Jeff is one of our best shooters and scorers.”
“And si Mike, also. I guess guys have to step up and today, I just felt I had to be a little bit more aggressive offensively,” Tiu continued. “I’m glad to have helped the team.”
“He played a good game today,” said Elasto Painters head coach Caloy Garcia. “He dictated our tempo today and I hope he can keep it up.
Tiu is the last remaining long-timer in the Rain or Shine squad. He has spent all of his pro years with the team since getting drafted in 2012.
Norwood is the most senior in terms of years logged — having been with the team since 2008. Belga, for his part, has played for the Painters for six years.
Top guards Jericho Cruz and Maverick Ahanmisi have only been with the team since 2014.
“Well, we have to really make the adjustments,” Tiu noted. “We have to get familiar with each other A-S-A-P.”
“Luckily we had a week to prepare, we had a new import who came in, so we had a few days to get familiar with each other, but this is a good break-in game for us, and we hope we can get better,” he closed.
Rain or Shine will get to test if their newfound cohesion can bring them to their second straight victory. The Painters are now 2-2 in the season-ending Governors’ Cup.