Ateneo’s Tio shows what he’s got after one season, one game wait

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INTRODUCTION. Tyler Tio made an immediate impact in only his first game in the UAAP.

Tyler Tio was Ateneo de Manila University’s biggest recruit in 2016.

Unfortunately, citizenship issues held up his eligibility.

When all was finally sorted out and Tio was eligible for Season 80, a left ankle sprain then forced him to sit out the Blue Eagles’ season opener.

Of course, the 19-year-old didn’t hide the fact that the one season, one game wait got to him somehow. “Yes, a little bit. It’s been a long wait, that’s for sure,” he said.

Through it all, however, he just worked on his game. “I just used the time to get better and prepare,” he shared.

At long last, all of the work paid off when Tio made his debut on Wednesday.

Scoring 14 points and converting all six of his attempts, he was one of the many stars that shone for the Blue Eagles in their 21-point rout, 92-71, of University of the Philippines.

The first-year guard made it a point, however, to say that having a standout individual performance was never his goal in his first game in the UAAP. “Of course, I was very excited to play, but I wasn’t thinking coming into the game that I had to score this amount of points. I just wanted to make sure that I played correctly, that I followed coach Tab’s (Baldwin) system,” he said.

As such, he only followed Ateneo’s system calling for all of its players to take the shot when they have a good look – especially in the final frame where he poured in 10 points in a two-minute span. Asked about it, he answered, remaining modest, “I was just trying to go with the flow of the game. I got open so I had to take the shots and thankfully it went in.”

For their part, the Eagles’ coaching staff was nothing but satisfied with the effort of their rookie stud. “It was a very good performance considering it’s his first game. We’re very happy for Tyler and I think all of his other teammates are also happy for him,” coach Sandy Arespacochaga said.

Arespacochaga then went on to say that, without a doubt, Tio was just doing his job on and off the court. “If you interview Tyler, he’s part of the team that’s why he will downplay his performance, but it was a very good performance coming from Tyler. That’s part of our philosophy, players just come in and do their job,” he said.

He then continued, “It could be that one guy is hot this game, next game another. We go with the hot hand and we went with Tyler today.”

In Ateneo’s next matchup on Sunday against Far Eastern University, the guy just might again be the recruit from Xavier School who is now at full health. “It feels okay. There are no more problems with my injury,” he expressed.

Still, he isn’t guaranteeing anything. “I don’t wanna say anything. I just wanna try my best and God will take care of the rest,” he said.

Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.



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