MANILA, Philippines – Rain or Shine veteran Chris Tiu displayed his toughness Sunday, when he shrugged off a bloodied mouth to hit the clutch shots for the Elasto Painters in their PBA Commissioner's Cup game against GlobalPort at the Araneta Coliseum.
Tiu found himself on the receiving end of a massive elbow from GlobalPort reinforcement Malcolm White with 6:50 left in the game, sending him face down to the court. To add insult to injury, White was able to secure the offensive board in the process, and scored to tie the game at 74.
It was only after White had scored that Rain or Shine was able to send officials to Tiu, who was still prone on the floor.
"It was clearly intentional," Tiu said after the game. "It was very rough the entire game. Unfortunately, I didn't see it at all, and he got me clean. It's been the worst, the hardest hit I've ever gotten in my basketball career."
"I lost consciousness for maybe two seconds," he revealed. "Parang nasapak ako ni Pacquiao."
Fans in the arena realized the gravity of the injury when Tiu spat out a mouthful of blood to the court, before being helped up by medics. He managed to walk back to the bench on his own, but not before trying to get into White's face about the incident.
"Siyempre, sino ba hindi magagalit sa ganyang action, 'di ba?" Tiu said.
White denied that he hit Tiu intentionally, explaining that "it was just the motion of my arm."
"I was just boxing out, and somebody was there," the import said. "I guess he was right there by arm. I didn't even know I did it."
The import said he tried to apologize, but the damage was done. The contest took on an even rougher turn late, when four players, including White, were called for technical fouls and two others – Rain or Shine's Maverick Ahanmisi and GlobalPort's Kelly Nabong – were thrown out for taking on fighting stances.
Ultimately, Tiu and the Elasto Painters got the last laugh, as they hacked out a 96-90 win to seize the solo lead in the PBA Commissioner's Cup heading into the All-Star break.
Tiu personally ensured that Rain or Shine came away with the win, as he scored five points in the final three minutes, including a dagger triple with 1:14 left to make it a nine-point game, 92-83.
"Situations like these happen, and it's part of basketball," said Tiu. "Just be focused, and the objective is to win the game. That's the best revenge we could give them."
The guard earned praise from coach Caloy Garcia, who revealed that Tiu could have chosen to go to a local hospital and get checked out. However, Tiu had no intention of doing that.
"Going to the hospital would not give me a chance to get back at him or them, with the way they played," Tiu said. "I think the best way was just to win the game. I'm glad we pulled through."
"I'm just happy na hindi natanggal ang ngipin ko or nabasag ang ilong ko," he also said.
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