Last Tuesday, July 12, at the press conference for Ogie & Regine’s Celebrity Ukay-ukay, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) caught up with one of the charity project’s supporters—basketball player and TV host Chris Tiu.
As one of the prominent faces in Philippine basketball, we asked how he feels about the sudden popularity of football, thanks of course to the Philippine Azkals.
"Oh well, of course, I’m very happy for the sport," said Chris.
"Kasi siyempre, ano ’yan, e, parang re-emergence of football. Kasi dati magaling tayo [noong] 1920s and then nawala for a while.
"And then ngayon, nagkakaroon ng interest na naman kasi kahit papaano nananalo ang Azkals sa ilang games sa Southeast Asia."
With the Azkals gaining more admirers, and football getting serious attention from sports followers, does he feel that basketball is somehow taking the back seat in terms of fan support?
"Well, I’m happy hindi lang basketball ang sinusundan ng tao ngayon.
"Kasi siyempre, advocacy ko talaga is to develop sports among the youth.
"Kesa naman yung mga bata ngayon, e, tumatambay lang diyan or kung anu-ano’ng bisyo’ng ginagawa. Mas maganda na ma-involve sila sa sports, di ba?
"Siyempre ngayon, kung interested sila sa soccer kasi napapanood nila yung Azkals, why not, di ba?"
Why is it so important for him to spread the spirit of athleticism among the youth?
"So they can learn how to work as a team.
"So they can learn discipline, nakakapag-training sila physically and they’re able to develop their skills, di ba?
"I think its great for the country also."
Chris said he is very proud of the Philippine Azkals for their recent successes in football.
He said he hopes to have the same luck for the Smart Gilas National basketball team, of which he is the captain, as they enter the Olympic Games qualifier this September.
BILLBOARD ISSUE. As an athlete and brand endorser, we asked Chris his opinion on the removal of billboards along EDSA.
This involves the underwear ads of the Philippine Volcanoes rugby team which were taken down by city officials who deemed them "indecent" and "hazardous distractions" to metropolitan drivers. (CLICK HERE to read related story.)
"Well, if they’re gonna remove guys who are sexy, dapat girls din na masyadong sexy sa mga billboards because it’s for the safety of the drivers, di ba?" he said.
"Karamihan ng drivers, lalake.
"If it’s gonna affect the safety of our travelers, I think the city government should take the necessary actions."
However, he did not say if he agrees with the city government’s decision to take down the billboards.
Will Chris appear in a sexy advertisement soon?
"No," was his quick reply.
"I mean, ever since before naman, I’m sure napansin naman ng lahat na ang endorsements ko [ay] very wholesome.
"Kung medyo controversial siya or medyo indecent siya, hindi ko tinatanggap.
"I don’t know, [maybe because] I was raised in a very conservative family.
"My mom would always remind me, ’You have to make sure that whatever you do in public would encourage and teach the right values.’
"For me it’s not really about the money or the fame... If you’re asking me if I’m gonna do billboards like that, I don’t think [so].
"I think it’s a bit too daring for me, for my personality," said the cager who turned 26 yesterday, July 15.