|FIBA (file photo)|
By Ivan Saldajeno
PASAY--For Juan Gomez De Liaño, staying in UP for college was not a hard decision.
"I've been there for four years. It's really hard to leave the team. Parang second home ko siya," the third member of the Gomez De Liaño Brothers told some sportswriters during the press launch of Slam Rising Stars at the Ginzadon Restaurant inside Resorts World Manila on Saturday.
The recently-crowned UAAP juniors basketball MVP was named to his second appearance in the annual high school all-star game by the sports magazine, but for him, there is still a lot of things to do especially when he joins a Fighting Maroons squad which, despite falling short of a Final Four stint, exceeded the expectations.
"I decided, 'I like to give back,' kasi wala pa akong napapatunayan sa UP. Di pa ako nag-champion. Di pa ako nag-Final Four," Juan continued.
The explosiveness of the six-feet-two combo guard, who also became part of the national youth team, could be the last piece UP, which came close to a Final Four appearance in last year's UAAP stint, needs to make a return to the semifinals for the first time since 1997, but when asked about it, he replied, "I don't know."
Still, he expressed bliss about teaming up with another Batang Gilas alumnus in Paul Desiderio, who is mentoring him as he begins his journey from the Junior Maroons to the senior Maroons.
"He has been dominating the D-League. Tinutulungan niya ako in a lot of ways," Gomez De Liaño said about Desiderio.
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