By Mariel Abanes
Keen eyes have been on Tyler Tio as soon as he graduated from Xavier School in 2016. The former Golden Stallions player is easily recognizable with his smashing talent on the court, so basketball fans have eagerly anticipated his UAAP debut. He chose to attend Ateneo De Manila University, but due to citizenship issues, Tyler had to sit for a year before he could play. And when Season 80 rolled in, boy, it was worth the wait.
With an impressive run last year, the 20-year-old is one of the hotshots not to be missed this season. After finishing as champions, he says it will get tougher this year, but he and his team seem to be well-prepared for what’s coming—with a promise of defending their title.
The student-athlete recalls his first playing year with the Blue Eagles and joining the 40th William Jones Cup in Taiwan last July, which he considers as the highlights of his basketball career so far. In interviews, he mentions that he’s just “doing his job,” but one can’t deny that Tyler’s skills are topnotch, with killer instinct and burning passion driving him in every game. “I think it’s really just the love for the game because ever since I was young, basketball is really the thing I loved the most and it just so happened that I’m good at it also,” the Management Economics major says.
Now that the games have commenced, Tyler admits that juggling school work and practice sesh can be very challenging. But he keys in time management to finish strong not just on the court, but also in the classroom. “I want to excel in basketball so it’s what motivates me to work hard, to come to practice, and endure all of the hardships that go along with it,” he shares. Their training goes throughout the week, so he clocks in enough time to get requirements done, study in advance, the works. Education, he says, will still be on top of his priority.
He looks up to fellow Xavier and Ateneo alumnus Chris Tiu, on- and off-court terms. “He’s a great role model for kids like me before, and hopefully I can be that for someone, too,” Tyler gushes. “I guess I just wanna be a positive role model for younger kids.”
Outside his very competitive and fiery attitude in school, the Point Guard says he’s like any normal kid who pins for video games, movies, and nights out with friends. He understands that the athletic path led him to his share of the spotlight, but he doesn’t let popularity affect who he truly is. “At the end of the day, the opinion of your family and of yourself is what really matters, not really the fame or what other people think of you,” he discloses.
Tyler truly isn’t just another popular jock. With his fervor and determination, he sure knows how to maneuver his way to the right path. His secret? “Probably cliché, but trust the process.” Instead of focusing on the result, he shifts his energy to handle things he can control. “And let God take care of it,” Tyler ends.
Watch Tyler star in our 18th anniversary campaign #ChalkGen18 as part of this year's Chalk Bright Young Manila:
ALSO READ: #ChalkGen18: Meet The 18 Individuals Of This Year's Chalk Bright Young Manila
Photographed by Stephen Capuchino
Art Direction by Mikka Caronan
Styled by Madel Asuncion
Makeup by Melanie Acedillo of Makeup Design Academy
Hair by Sam Corbillon of Triple Luck Brow and Nail Salon
Denim jacket by Bench