Despite competing in various international tournaments, Juan Gomez De Liaño faces a bigger challenge after being tapped to be part of the national squad that will see action in the first window of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup Qualifiers this Sunday in Jakarta.
The 20-year-old playmaker from University of the Philippines said he had been to other international meets, but competing for Gilas Pilipinas in an elite tournament is truly an honor.
Gomez de Liaño was one of the young guns that made the final cut for the team that will battle Indonesia at the BritAma Arena.
Also seeing action are greenhorns Isaac Go, Dwight Ramos, Thirdy Ravena and Matt Nieto as well as Philippine Basketball Association players Justin Chua, Poy Erram, CJ Perez, Roger Pogoy, Dwight Ramos, Kiefer Ravena, Troy Rosario and Abu Tratter.
This will be Gomez De Liaño’s second consecutive international tour of duty after campaigning for Mighty Sports in the prestigious Dubai Invitational Basketball Championship last month, where the Filipinos won the title via a clean sweep.
“It’s really an honor to finally play for Gilas Pilipinas. I want the coaches to feel that they made the right decision in putting me in the final roster,” Gomez de Liaño said.
“I’ve put in a lot of work over the past season. I’m going to give my best. Now, I can gauge myself whether I can play in the international stage or not.”
Gomez de Liaño, however, stressed that it would have been a different story had his brother, Javi, also survived the final cut.
“It would be a big factor if Javi will be there because we already know each other’s spot and tendencies. Things would have been easier if he was part of the final 12. But we still have the second window. For sure, he will try to get in again. He will work hard to get stronger and better, he said,“ adding that making it to the seniors team is a big boost to his career.
“I’ll try to be a sponge around them. I will soak in as much advice and help that I can for my career.”
“As a rookie in the team, I will just try to learn from those guys and work hard to be a better player.”