Chris Tiu and Rain or Shine management are close to finalizing a fresh deal that will keep the reliable Elasto Painters combo-guard for at least another season in the Philippine Basketball Association.
League sources said yesterday that Tiu already had initial discussions for him to play for one season with the ballclub that drafted him in 2012.
Like the current contract with ROS that will expire on Aug. 31, the new deal approximately worth P5.04 million will continue to pay Tiu the league maximum salary of P420,000.
“I think they’re in the process of finalizing it since he met with the team owners,” said the source who requested not to be named as he is not authorized to discuss details of the negotiations.
“Chris still loves to play and he loves to play for Rain or Shine because of the team owners, his coach Yeng Guiao, and his teammates. He’s still enjoying it, as well as his fans. They don’t want to see him go,” added the source.
The new contract could be finalized before Tiu flies to the United States today for a short vacation with his wife, the former Clarisse Ong.
Last July 9, a day after ROS lost to eventual Governors’ Cup champion San Miguel Beer in their semifinal series, Tiu posted on his Twitter account @chris_tiu some of his thoughts about playing for the Painters.
“To my teammates & coaches, BIG thank u for making the PBA fun for me!
It’s an honor & pleasure to play w/ u guys! Love this team! #ROSfamily” and “I want to thank all the ROS fans for your support, rain or shine! Thank you for believing. Sana ‘wag kayong magsawa! #BayanNgROS”.
The tweets led to speculations that he is retiring after three seasons since he was taken with No. 7 overall pick during the 2012 PBA Rookie Draft.
Media outlets took Tiu’s tweets as ‘farewell’ statements. Some even assumed that one of the PBA’s glamour boys is retiring. However, later that day, Tiu, who turned 30 last July 15, issued a statement.
“I initially intended to play in the PBA for just one contract period but now I’m reconsidering because I never thought I would enjoy playing basketball this much in this level,” said part of Tiu’s statement.
“At the end of the day, I am truly grateful to the Lord, the team, the fans and the support of my family. I trust in God’s plan & I pray that I will do what He wants of me,” added Tiu, who has career averages of 5.03 points, 2.06 rebounds and 1.86 assists.
Tiu has blossomed as one of the key players in head coach Yeng Guiao’s guard rotation, even forming a solid backcourt tandem with Paul Lee, considered one of the best scoring threats in the PBA.
A former stalwart at Ateneo where he won a UAAP title in 2008 before being recruited for the original Smart Gilas Pilipinas from 2009 to 2011, Tiu also dabbles as a TV host and businessman.