By Waylon Galvez
Rain or Shine guard Chris Tiu has mixed emotions on the ugly free-for-all that marred the game between the Philippines and Australia in 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifier Monday night at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Tiu, an original member of the Smart Gilas Pilipinas from 2009 to 2011, said Gilas players involved in the fracas are not at fault but felt things got a little “overboard” when the host team nearly emptied its bench when the fight broke out.
“I was actually stunned with the series of events that happened. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I have mixed emotions and thoughts about it,” said Tiu, a seven-year PBA player of ROS, who watched the game on TV.
“Our players really watched out for each other’s back and protected each other.
I guess that the intentions were good that they want to protect their teammate, our teammate, who was elbowed.”
“As to the means on how brotherhood was displayed… we went a little bit overboard with the bench clearing and the non-players involved in the altercation,” added Tiu.
The hardest thing, according to Tiu in those type of situation when emotions are running high and the game is already physical, is to keep one self’s composure and stay focused.
Tiu experienced all that during his stint with the national team as he competed against other nations, particularly his battles against the Jordanians, Lebanese and the Iranians.
In the pro league, he also had to keep his emotions in check despite several rough plays. The 6-foot-1 Tiu recently got a busted lip courtesy of an elbow by GlobalPort import Malcolm White.
“It’s easier said than done,” said Tiu. “I’m a player also. When things got heated and emotions are high, it takes a lot of composure to slow down and to react accordingly. So I guess their instinct made them behave that way.”
For Tiu, whatever the decision is, the Philippines as a whole should use it as an opportunity to repair whatever was damaged since the country is known for its love for the sport.
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