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Tiu says Cruz injury unfortunate, is ready to step up if needed



Rain or Shine guard Chris Tiu once thought of retiring prior to the start of the 41st season, but the Elasto Painter eventually made what turned out to be a good decision.

And he feels blessed to be given an opportunity to play for at least one more year.

“For me it is always a blessing to play basketball at this level and more so to be part of a team consistently part of the semis if not the finals. I’ve been really blessed. I just cherish every game I get to play to compete and help this team win. Life is really full of uncertainties,” Tiu said.

The four-year PBA pro is one of nine Rain or Shine players who have played all 16 games this conference, and is also the team’s leading assist-maker with 7.1 dimes per 36 minutes.

Tiu averages only 14.3 minutes in the conference, but in Game 3, he logged close to 20 minutes of play and scored 12 points including 2-for-3 triples. Tiu was also a plus-17 and sealed the match with four straight free throws to hand Rain or Shine a 111-106 win in Game 3.

Tiu replaced Jericho Cruz when the latter suffered an apparent knee injury after an awkward fall upon trying to save the ball with only 5 seconds left in the game.

“Sobrang unfortunate ng nangyari kay Jericho. He is an important piece to the puzzle of this team. His energy on both ends, and he has improved so much. Sana hindi ganoong ka-serious at maka-recover siya agad,” Tiu said, adding the entire backcourt rotation has to step up.

“As for the team, I guess everybody has to step up. This is what the team is made of. That is what coach Yeng has invested in a lot early in the season, for situations like this. Hopefully, we will be able to hang on in this series.”

With the sad development, Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao will be relying on the depth of his squad. The team already lost Raymond Almazan for the remainder of the series due to a sprain, and the Cruz injury will be another test for the Elasto Painters.

“That is how it is. We are willing to pay that cost (injuries). We will just keep making adjustments,” the mentor said. “The team is designed for others to step up. When Paul was injured, other guys stepped up. Maybe this is another opportunity.”

As for Tiu, he vows to be ready if ever he will be needed to play more minutes and do more while on the floor.

“I am just here to contribute, help my team in anyway, whether I close the game or not, or play 20 minutes or not. I just need to play my role, score when needed, provide leadership, I guess that’s it. I have to be ready when given a bigger role.”

Video courtesy of Sports5

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