RAIN or Shine’s Chris Tiu may not be churning out large numbers worthy of a Most Valuable Player trophy in the Philippine Basketball Association, yet he has proven himself to be the total embodiment of an athlete worthy of emulation.
The Ten Outstanding Young Men trophy he received recently explicitly tells why Tiu is more than just a basketball player. The PBA family, including the management of Rain or Shine, congratulated the accomplished TV host, commercial model, entrepreneur and politician.
“We just did the right thing in getting Chris. We are really proud of him, he’s indeed a good role model for kids and aspiring basketball players,” said Rain or Shine co-owner Raymond Yu.
Terry Que, for his part, challenged the former “King Eagle” to continue reaching out to the youth as part of his advocacy.
“We will support him in every step of the way. Despite his status in life, he remains very simple and down to earth. He’s such a genuine youth leader,” said Que of the reigning 3-Point King.
As a cager, Tiu was not a man in a hurry.
He played junior ball in Xavier and college in Ateneo starting in 2003 and patiently worked with his teammates to give the Blue Eagles the UAAP men’s basketball title after a six-year drought. He was also a member of the premier college league’s mythical team in 2007 and 2008.
When everyone believed he was turning pro, he instead opted to stay in the newly formed Gilas national team, rather than go straight to the PBA, where the best players in the land play for big pay.
In the next four years, he represented the country in international tournaments, along with teammates JV Casio, Marcus Douthit, Japeth Aguilar, Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter, Mark Barroca, who are now also playing for various PBA teams.
Tiu was also part of the 2011 Sinag Pilipinas team that captured the gold in the Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia. In August last year, he joined Rain or Shine as a rookie.
He did this while he dabbles in TV hosting and up until now with GMA as host of TV program I-BILIB: Wonders of Horus, which airs every Sunday on GMA Network and ‘1-on-1 Tiu-torials’ on TV 5.
As an entrepreneur, he is part owner of beverage specialty store Happy Lemon Philippines. And he has had his taste of politics as a former Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman of Barangay Urdaneta in Makati City.
The 28-year -old Tiu is no stranger to recognition. Prior to his TOYM award, he was also a leadership awardee of the ASEAN Youth Day couple of months ago and the Sports Personality of the Year in the USTv Students Choice Awards.
And for all his accomplishments in youth leadership development, it did not escape the prying eyes of the Philippine Jaycees, which confer the awards to young men and women “whose selfless dedication to their profession or vocation has resulted in significant contributions to the welfare of their countrymen, as well as to the advancement of their fields of endeavor.
Tiu became the first PBA player and 15th athlete to get a TOYM award, joining an elite list of great champions like Gabriel “The Flash” Elorde (1960), tennis player Johnny Jose (1960), car driver Dodjie Laurel (1964), chess player Eugene Torre (1974), bowler Paeng Nepomuceno (1978), boxer Luisito Espinosa (1989), Lydia de Vega (1992) and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao (2004).
Also recognized were swimmer Erick Buhain (1991), long jumper Elma Muros (1995), boxer Onyok Velasco (1996), golfer Dorothy Delasin (2001), mountain climber Romy Garduce (2006) and footballer Chieffy Caligdong (2012).
Commissioner Chito Salud said Tiu’s conferment as one of the honorees of the prestigious award brings immense honor to the sporting community in general and the PBA in particular.
“Chris epitomizes the athlete role model for the youth that PBA would like to see each and every one of its players to embrace. On behalf of the PBA family, I congratulate him for his tremendous achievement and thank him for the energy, commitment and passion this recognition will bring to his fellow PBA players as they all contribute their share to youth development,” said Salud.