UAAP: Finally, Javi and Juan GDL get to play in Final Four

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 22, 2018 05:57 PM
UAAP: Finally, Javi and Juan GDL get to play in Final Four
Javi and Juan GDL have never made it past the elimination round - until now

A week ago, the University of the Philippines put an end to a 21-year playoff drought.

At the same time, Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan also put an end to their very own six-year playoff drought.

“Six years. It took me six years. That was just it,” Juan answered after being asked why he was in tears following the Fighting Maroons’ playoff berth-clinching win. “I’ve been waiting for a long time for this moment – to get into the Final Four.”

Both GDL brothers played four years for UP Integrated School before moving on up to UP’s Seniors squad.

Whether as Junior Maroons or as Fighting Maroons, they always missed out on the Final Four.

That all changed in the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament – Javi’s third year and Juan’s second season – where State U is the third-seed and is nothing but confident in waging war with second-seed and twice-to-beat Adamson University.

Of course, Javi shared the sentiments of his younger brother. “It was just our day. It was about time na rin na kami naman,” he said.

For a long time now, from when they were the brightest stars for UPIS to when they were the pioneers of committing to UP, the GDL brothers have always called Diliman home.

That is exactly why for a long time now, no matter how farfetched it seemed, they have been guaranteeing a return to the Final Four for State U. “Heading into college, I never planned to go to other schools because I wanted to fulfill my promise to the UP community that we would be on top again,” Javi shared.

Fulfill their promise, they did, as the two showed the way with Juan having 27 points, four assists, and three rebounds and Javi having 19 markers built on five triples in UP’s biggest win in more than two decades.

Looking back now, the GDL brothers have been proven right in their decision to stay home. “From the bottom all the way up talaga. I never gave up on that dream that we’re gonna make the Final Four and the Finals,” Javi said.

He then continued, “Unfortunately, we didn’t make it in high school, but now we have, I’m just really happy.”

Juan could only agree. “I am happy for the team, for the fans, for the community. This is for them talaga,” he said.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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