UAAP: Ateneo's Coach Tab has always been a fan of UP's Juan GDL

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 16, 2018 04:44 PM
UAAP: Coach Tab has always been a fan of Juan GDL
Season 80 Rookie of the Year Juan GDL is only continuing to open eyes in Season 81

Ateneo de Manila University stamped its class all over the University of the Philippines for first win in the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

But not before the Fighting Maroons gave all they had to the Blue Eagles.

In the end, the defending champions’ winning margin over the upstarts was a comfortable nine points.

Still, Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin had nothing but good words for their opponents. “That UP team is very good, aren’t they,” he told reporters in his post-win interview.

One player, in particular, was singled out by the champion coach for his strong showing. “Juan Gomez de Liano is a really good player,” coach Tab said.

Indeed, UP’s sophomore stud wowed just about everybody with a career-high 29 points on top of six rebounds and two assists up against the Blue Eagles.

Also, he had this highlight:

While those numbers and highlight didn’t end up in the win he would have wanted, Juan GDL only appreciates the good words the internationally renowned mentor had for him. “It’s an honor to be known by coach Tab,” he said.

As it turns out, that wasn’t the first time State U’s pride had caught the eye of the one-time Gilas Pilipinas shot-caller. “Actually, I trained with him na nung third year high school. In-invite kasi kami sa Ateneo then during the scrimmage, he just pulled me aside and we had a long conversation about everything,” the former shared.

Yes, three years ago, the two got together for a long talk about basketball as well as life off the court.

From that talk, Juan GDL would go on to an MVP season in the UAAP Juniors and then a Rookie of the Year campaign in the UAAP Seniors. Coach Tab then went on to a runner-up finish in his first year as Ateneo head coach before winning it all the next season.

While they may be on opposite sides for now until the foreseeable future, Juan GDL still said that it’s nothing but an honor to be in the good graces of coach Tab. As he put it, “Coach Tab knows a lot. He’s very systematic eh so it’s an honor to be noticed by him.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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