For many professional athletes, playing their sport is a lifetime commitment that they hold to fully from the day they start to the day they can no longer play at their best. In the Philippines, one can look at the examples of Robert Jaworski, who remained an active PBA player for over three decades before retiring to enter politics, and boxer Manny Pacquiao, still taking on all comers even as a Philippine Senator. But not all sports careers are similarly long and storied. Some athletes decide to retire from the game at the prime of their life, the way another PBA star did only recently.
ESPN 5 reports that Chris Tiu, a basketball idol of contemporary generations that became famous as an Ateneo Blue Eagle, National Team member, and PBA player for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, has just announced his retirement from the sport at a relatively young age. This was made known by Tiu’s bombshell of a post on his Twitter page earlier this week. After thanking his fans who have followed him from college ball to the professional league, Tiu remarked that “his heart was full” and that it was time for him to “move on”.
Tiu was one of the darlings of the UAAP when he played for Ateneo at the start of the 21st Century, where he was part of the Blue Eagle squad that finally beat their alma mater’s longtime rival the De La Salle Green Archers in the 2008 finals after a championship drought of six years. During that time he was also a two-time UAAP Mythical Five member and named a Favorite Athlete at the 2008 Nickelodeon Philippines Kids’ Choice Awards. In 2010 he joined the first Philippine Men’s Basketball team to compete under the name Gilas, which won a bronze in the 2011 William Jones Cup, plus gold medals in the SEA Games and SEABA Championship of the same year.
For his entry into the pros with the PBA, Chris Tiu was chosen seventh overall in the Rookie Draft pick. Afterwards he would play with Rain or Shine for the rest of his six-year career in the league, joining the 2013 PBA All-Rookie Team and winning the All-Star three-point competition. Ultimately he helped the Elasto Painters on their 2016 campaign that led to their becoming the Commissioner’s Cup champions. His last PBA game, during the 2018 Governor’s Cup, saw him contribute 30 points for a 107-101 Rain or Shine win over the NLEX Road Warriors.
Outside of basketball, Tiu was also a successful commercial model and TV personality, having hosted a variety of shows on multiple TV networks. In addition, he at one time served as Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Chair for Barangay Urdaneta in Makati, essentially giving him political background.
Image courtesy of GMA Network