The long wait is over: Chris Tiu is joining the PBA.
After skipping the draft last year to continue to focus on the national team, Tiu announced he was making himself available to turn pro on Friday.
“It took me some time because I have to consult my family and had to wait for their go signal before I made myself available for the draft,” Tiu told InterAKTV in an exclusive interview.
Tiu beat the August 3 deadline and submitted his application to the PBA at around 11 a.m.
He said he looks forward to playing in the league regardless of which team takes him.
“Ang gusto ko lang naman makalaro,” said the former SMART-Gilas Pilipinas team captain. “Maski saan, as long as gagamitin ako.”
Tiu’s entry comes a year after most of his contemporaries joined the draft last season. Seven of the 10 first round picks last year were members of SMART-Gilas, including top pick JVee Casio. He had hoped to continue playing for the national program while focusing on his other interests in business and entertainment, but changes in SMART-Gilas prompted him to join the PBA.
The AKTV basketball ambassador’s entry brings even more star power to the draft, which already counts Junemar Fajardo, Calvin Abueva, Cliff Hodge, Chris Ellis, Vic Manuel, Alex Mallari, and Ronald Pascual among hopefuls.
Petron owns the first and third picks originall from Air 21 and Barako Bull, respectively, while Alaska owns the second. Meralco, Barako Bull (from Petron), Barangay Ginebra (from Powerade), Rain or Shine, Ginebra again, B-MEG, and the new Mikee Romero-owned team that bought the Powerade franchise complete the first round.