The University of the Philippines is loading up on weapons as it gears up for war in the UAAP Season 81 – and even beyond.
While the additions of Bright Akhuetie, Ricci Rivero, and Kobe Paras have grabbed headlines, the well-rounded development of Javi Gomez de Liano has flown under the radar.
For little brother Juan, that’s a big mistake. “I noticed that my bro has been struggling trying to find his game during the offseason, but after his PBA D-League stint, he showed how he really plays,” he said.
He then continued, “I really think that he is one of the reasons that UP fans should be hopeful for.”
Indeed, it should be noted that even before Akhuetie, even before Rivero, even before Paras, and even before Juan GDL himself, Javi GDL was the first big fish State U had caught in recent history.
And after a two-month stint in the PBA D-League, the incoming fourth-year player gave a reminder of why that was so.
Suiting up for Marinerong Pilipino, Javi GDL was time and again one of the top contributors in terms of scoring and rebounding.
In a scintillating showing up against TIP, he dropped a career-best 27 points on 78 percent shooting from the field on top of five rebounds to lead his team to a 105-80 rout.
More than the numbers, however, the now 19-year-old bared a brand new facet of his game – that of playing as a guard.
Juan GDL hopes his kuya could continue showcasing that brand new facet of his game in the UAAP. “I think he would play better as a guard so us together in the backcourt, that would be great. We are both shooters and can go switch on defense,” he shared.
Javi GDL could only agree. As he put it, “Sharing the backcourt with Juan will be really great. We’ve been playing together with our kuya ever since so that will really be an advantage for us.”
Of course, the brothers said that a GDL backcourt is best left to the judgment of head coach Bo Perasol. “In our team, we have a lot of good backcourt players so I wouldn’t really mind if I go of the bench or if I start,” Javi said.
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