Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chris Tiu undecided to join PBA ; Gilas ready for SEABA

Source : AKTV

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.”

Gilas to SEABA

The SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team, helmed by coach Jong Uichico and led by naturalized center Marcus Douthit and three pros from the Alaska Aces, is set to begin its campaign in the SEABA qualifying tournament for the FIBA Asia Cup in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The five-team tournament will start on Tuesday with Malaysia taking on Indonesia and Thailand facing Singapore while the Philippines takes an opening day bye.

The Philippine team starts its campaign on Wednesday against Singapore before taking on Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in the coming days.

The tournament acts as qualifying for the 2012 FIBA Asia Cup, formerly known as the FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup, to be held in Tokyo, Japan later this year. Only one representative from the SEABA will qualify for the FIBA Asia Cup.

The nationals should not encounter too much trouble in the tournament, with three key holdovers from the SMART-Gilas team that swept the SEABA Championship last year by an average winning margin of 40 points. Douthit, Chris Tiu and Alaska rookie Mac Baracael averaged 12.3, 10.5 and 11 points, respectively, in the SEABA tilt.

PBA stars LA Tenorio and Sonny Thoss also reinforce the squad, which should have more than enough firepower in this tourney.

They will be backed up by a solid amateur crew comprised of Aldrech Ramos, Garvo Lanete, Dave Marcelo, Emman Monfort, Borgie Hermida and Woody Co.

Lanete, Marcelo, Monfort and Tiu were also part of the all-amateur Sinag Pilipinas squad that breezed through the Southeast Asian Games last year.

The Philippines defeated Singapore by 55 points in the SEABA last year, where they also crushed Indonesia twice, by 40 in the round robin and by 39 in the finals. They clobbered Malaysia by 26 points in the SEABA and by 29 in the SEA Games semifinals and Thailand twice in the SEA Games – by 34 in the group phase and by 28 in the finals.

The SEABA representative will be drawn in the FIBA Asia Cup with regional powerhouse China, Lebanon, Macau and the yet to be named representative from the Central Asian Basketball Association.

The other group is comprised of Iran, Chinese Taipei, Qatar, host Japan and the South Asian Basketball Association representative.

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