UAAP: Did you know? Juan GDL once played for Ateneo

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 12, 2018 08:29 PM
UAAP: Did you know? Juan GDL once played for Ateneo
Imagine this, but in blue and white - it almost happened for Juan Gomez de Liano and Ateneo

Juan Gomez de Liano dropped a career-best 29 points on Ateneo de Manila University on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

That, however, came in a loss for the University of the Philippines – their first in UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Still, the second-year shining star played so well that even Blue Eagles mentor Tab Baldwin had to be impressed. “That UP team is very good, aren’t they? Juan Gomez de Liano is a really good player,” he said post-game.

As it turns out, more than wanting to win for the Fighting Maroons, Juan GDL has always had a bigger chip on his shoulder up against Ateneo. “You know, every time na we’re going up against Ateneo, it always motivates me. The fact na high school, they didn’t get me then college, interested lang, but they didn’t get me,” he shared.

He then continued, “So every time we go up against Ateneo, I always go all out. Always yun.”

Yes, the Season 80 Seniors Rookie of the Year and Season 79 Juniors MVP once wore the blue and white – and not just him, but kuyas Joe and Javi as well.

Then, the GDLs themselves had to admit that they had much room for improvement.

Still, Juan said that even then, he was already collecting fuel for the fire of completion opposite Ateneo. “Motivation talaga sa akin to go against them and not just the team. Nung nasa Ateneo pa ako nung Grade 7, ‘di ako nakapag-varsity,” he shared.

He then continued, “I didn’t have failing grades, I just had one grade na line of seven. Dun pa lang, I have something to prove na.”

After that, the GDLs transferred to State U where they began making a name for themselves – both as Junior Maroons and now as Fighting Maroons.

Of course, not even UP would admit that it knew the Juan, and Javi, would shine like stars when they transferred.

Nonetheless, Juan GDL said that he always relishes proving himself to their Katipunan neighbors – especially as he has never triumphed over them, either in the Seniors or in the Juniors.

While he did just that individually, the tantalizing talent said he would have wanted a win to go along with it. “We could’ve done better knowing that they lost their first game,” he said, referring to how the Blue Eagles were upset in their season opener.

Now that their first round meeting is over and done with, however, Juan GDL could only wait for his next shot at Ateneo. “Onto the next na lang,” he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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