While his batchmates from the original incarnation of the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national program have already become solid contributors in the PBA, Chris Tiu still ponders whether to take his talents to the pro league.
“From the beginning, I really want to play for the national team,” wrote Tiu in a text message to InterAKTV. “That has always been my priority.”
Tiu will get to don the national colors once more as part of the select squad of SMART-Gilas competing in the SEABA qualifying tournament for the FIBA Asia cup.
However, the commitment of the select squad only extends until the current tournament. Afterwards, the program will be composed of an elite squad of players from the PBA as well as a cadet squad composed of young college players.
Tiu hopes he will be invited to the elite pool, which will form the core of the team that will compete in major international tournaments.
“I’m still observing how the Gilas program will unfold. If I can be included in the Gilas PBA pool that will be competing in major tournaments, then that would be the best,” he said.
Tiu has been invited to join the cadet pool but isn’t certain about whether he will accept the invitation.
“I was invited to join the cadet pool, but the plans for the cadet pool is quite uncertain and I don’t know who has committed already,” said Tiu. “But as long as the national team would need me and ask me to help, I would help out, just like what happened in the SEABA where the team was formed at the last minute. I had to cancel some previous commitments, but they would understand because it’s for the country.”
The PBA remains an option for Tiu, especially since the league already made a commitment to lend its players to the national program.
“I am not totally disregarding the PBA. As an athlete, I want to continue playing basketball at a competitive level. I believe that God gave me this talent so that I can hone it and share it to others, by playing with the right attitude and values,” said Tiu.
“Also, I want to play for the fans. I don’t want to disappoint them. Most importantly, sports (especially basketball in the Philippines) has a unique ability to inspire people from all ages and all walks of life.”