Gomez De Liaño surprised with Rising Stars MVP award

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG--A 16-point output on 5-of-16 shooting may not look like solid numbers for an all-star game MVP.

No wonder why Juan Gomez De Liaño was surprised when he was named the Slam Rising Stars Classic's top performer on Sunday night.

"I didn't expect to win this award. I just wanted to win the game," the six-foot-two combo guard told some reporters at the Gatorade Hoops Center after the game.

The sluggish start can be attributed to an apparent jetlag from a rush return journey earlier Sunday.

"I came from Davao. When I came here, it was like 4:30 p.m. [already]," the UPIS star turned UP commit admitted.

The Fighting Maroons are playing in a pocket tournament as part of the said city's foundation anniversary celebration.

UP is actually playing La Salle in the championship game of the said tournament as of press time.

But it was his endgame heroics that mattered on why he was given the game's top individual honor after his Team Hype downed Team Punks.

Gomez De Liaño scored six points within the last 1:55 of the game, a four-point swing off an unsportsmanlike foul on Dave Ildefonso and two free throws that iced the match, to help Hype hold off the Punks.

"I've been doing this in practice. It's all about self-confidence," said Gomez De Liaño, who added seven rebounds, two assists, and one steal, about his clutch performance.

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