Can Juan GDL seamlessly transition from Jrs MVP to Srs Rookie of the Year?

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 03, 2017 02:39 PM
Can Juan GDL seamlessly transition from Jrs MVP to Srs RoY?
NEXT BIG THING. Great things are expected from Juan Gomez de Liano - without a doubt, the biggest recruit to suit up for UP in years.

Juan Gomez de Liano is the University of the Philippines’ most promising recruit for the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

And the 17-year-old will not need much time to adjust.

After all, he is very much used to having Philippines/Pilipinas in front of his jersey.

Gomez de Liano played for the UP Integrated School Junior Maroons the last three years before committing to stay in Diliman.

He has also had stints playing for national teams, the most recent of which was in the 2017 FIBA 3X3 Under-18 World Cup where he opened eyes with his hops.

Asked if he’s bringing those hops now to the collegiate wars, the tantalizing talent answered, full of confidence as always, “For sure, for sure. Abangan na lang.”

More than highlights, however, Gomez de Liano said he wants nothing more than to help bring back State U into the Final Four. As he put it, “I just wanna give back to the school and the community that gave me a chance.”

That is even truer as his MVP campaign in his last season in the Juniors wasn’t enough to catapult the Junior Maroons into the playoffs. “In high school, the MVP was just a bonus. I still wasn’t able to give the school, the community a championship,” he shared.

He then continued, “So I just wanna give them that now.”

The good news for the faithful over at Diliman is that their biggest recruit in years is ready and raring to go. “I’m feeling great. We all want to bring back the winning culture and attitude here,” he expressed.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking, however, that Gomez de Liano will not go out to prove his worth as this year’s most promising recruit. Asked if he has his sights set on the Rookie of the Year, he answered, again full of confidence, “Siyempre naman.”

If so, he will follow in a select line of players who were MVP in the Juniors and then proceeded to become Rookie of the Year in the Seniors. The most recent of them was De La Salle University’s Aljun Melecio who achieved the feat last year.

UP’s 6-foot-1 rookie guard was quick to add, however, “But my main goal is to help my team win and help us reach the Final Four.”

For his part, Fighting Maroons captain Paul Desiderio said he is constantly reminding Gomez de Liano to not let the pressure get to him. “Sinasabihan ko siya lagi na magaling na siya, hindi na siya kailangan pagsabihan pa. Yung talent niya, nandun na e,” he said.

He then continued, “Pero yung hype kasi ng tao, iba sa kanya so dapat ma-control niya yun. Kayang-kayan niya yan.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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