Former King Eagle Chris Tiu and Red Lion Borgie Hermida are making a homecoming; returning to the college ranks as coaches of the inaugural Master Game Face All Star Basketball Challenge—the country’s first preseason collegiate All-Star game.
Master Facial Wash has partnered with FilOil Flying V to organize the first ever Master Game Face All-Star Basketball Challenge—the premiere basketball exhibition featuring the best collegiate players from the top 18 universities who will face off in the summer’s hottest All-Star Game. The Master Game Face Challenge will be held at the FilOil Arena in San Juan on June 8 at 4 p.m.
It was not long ago that any discussion of elite collegiate talent would have to eventually address either Chris or Borgie. Leading their teams to win a combined five titles over the course of their careers, Chris and Borgie became pillars of their respective school programs.
“It was a discussion back then, who the better guard was. Borgie led San Beda to four titles in five years—and that was a fantastic accomplishment. But we were never in the same league at the same time. I guess we’ll never really know but the Master Game Face Challenge gives me a chance to finally one up him,” said Tiu.
“I didn’t really care about the comparisons- we were in different leagues and played different positions. Chris is a great basketball player but as a competitor, I would love to beat him this time,” said Borgie.
After moving on to the professional ranks, Chris and Borgie admit to reminiscing about their college days.
“The fans are different; there is just something behind their support. Their school spirit is incredible,” said Borgie.
“The fans of the college game are more intense, passionate and emotionally involved. I see alumni and their children crying after we lose a big game; it’s just a level of passion you don’t see in the professional game,” said Tiu.
Despite achieving equal measures of success in college, after mving to the professional ranks in the late 2000’s, their respective careers have taken very different paths.
Having captured the 2008 UAAP championship, Tiu left the Ateneo Blue Eagles to co-captain the SMART Gilas Pilipinas National Team, playing alongside the best amateur talent in the country. After a successful international career, highlighted by a fourth place finish at the 2011 FIBA Asia Championships—Tiu was selected seventh overall in the 2012 PBA Draft by the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
After leading San Beda to four NCAA titles in his five years at the school, Borgie Hermida has split time between the PBDL (Philippine Basketball Development League) with the NLEX Road Warriors and the PBA’s Shopinas.com Clickers. He remains very optimistic about his playing career. “I believe I will get a shot at the PBA. It’s just a matter of continuing to work hard and waiting for the right opportunity,” Borgie says.
Now going face to face as coaches for the Master Game Face Challenge, the importance of mentors and proper coaching isn’t lost upon Chris and Borgie, both of whom attribute a large part of their success to their coaches.
“I owe a lot to coach Frankie Lim, he has put me in a position to succeed and he has helped guide me throughout my college basketball years. As a point guard, he understood the position well and taught me a lot of what he knew,” says Borgie.
“I was very lucky to have played under the best coaches in the country; Coach Norman Black in college, Rajo Toreman with Gilas and now a multi-titled coach in Yeng Guiao with Rain or Shine. I’ve seen very different dimensions of coaching and in my own way I’ve picked up things here and there that have helped me,” says Tiu.
Chris and Borgie intend to make the most out of their turn behind the clipboard, returning to coach not only their respective alma maters but also an assembly of the elite UAAP and NCAA players in the Master Game Face All Star Basketball Challenge.
“It’s a brilliant idea to get the NCAA and UAAP as well as other non-member schools to participate in this one of a kind all-star game. This is something new for the fans, something that not everyone gets to see and I look forward to that,” says Chris.
Borgie says, “When I played this tournament before it wasn’t very big and this is a sign that it’s really growing.”
Borgie and Chris also both remember a time where they were the ones in the spotlight of their respective teams and the lessons they had to learn along the way, dealing with the fans and the pressure of the game at such a young age.
“Listen to your seniors. When I was a rookie, they were the ones who guided me, listen to them they know what they’re talking about. You have to be able to mix your academics and basketball. To stay on the roster, you need to have the grades so you have to keep that in mind,” said Borgie
“You have to be ready with what you’re about to get into. You will be in the public eye, people will follow you on and off the court. Be prepared for criticism, and there are no secret recipes just hard work,” added Chris.
Run in collaboration with the FilOil Flying V Preseason Tournament, the Master Game Face Challenge boasts a star studded line up with nine NCAA teams and all eight members of the UAAP represented. The FilOil Tournament has also extended their team pool to include CESAFI champion Southwestern University, solidifying their claim as the preeminent collegiate preseason tournament.
The Master Game Face All Star Challenge starting lineup will be selected by the fans through an online vote found at www.facebook.com/MasterPhilippines. Chris and Borgie will also handpick the 13 reserve players that will comprise their bench from the remaining player pool. The online Fan Vote will be announced live on May 25 as part of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Tournament coverage. As an additional surprise, fans who correctly voted for the starting lineup player can get a chance to win two ringside tickets for the Master Game Face Basketball Challenge.
Tickets are available through selected SM ticket outlets. Upper box tickets for just P100 and Lower Box tickets for P200. Tickets include entrance to the Filoil Cheerleading Competition (2 p.m.) and the Master Game Face All Star Basketball Challenge at 4 p.m.on June 8. You may also get free upper box tickets by buying Master 100g Facial Wash and Master 135ml Cleanser in participating supermarkets until May 31.