MANILA, Philippines—Juan Gomez de Liaño has returned to the 3×3 circuit.
University of the Philippines’ star is set play for the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards for the coming 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup inside a bubble setting at Inspire Academy in Laguna.
“I was introduced to 3×3 basketball when I was eight or nine-years-old. I would play 3×3 with grownups; I grew up playing in the streets. You see everyone in the streets. They won’t be playing basketball,” said de Liaño in an interview with Fiba 3×3.
“We’re playing 3×3 and that’s the OG.”
De Liaño first played in the Fifa circuit in 2017 with AJ Edu, Rhayyan Amsali, and Encho Serrano as they led the Philippines to a seventh place finish in the Fiba Under-18 World Cup, a memory that the 6-foot-1 guard remembers vividly.
“It was very positive. Coming into that tournament, I remember there weren’t high expectations for us. We finished seventh but that I was a great experience being able to compete at a high level,” said de Liaño, who is already staying at Inspire.
While de Liaño played with players in the same generation that he is in the Fiba tournament, this time would see him as the youngster of the group.
Teammate Gab Banal is already a veteran in the league, having played for Bataan and Basilan in 2019.
His other two teammates are Tonino Gonzaga and Jai Reyes who already started their collegiate careers in the late 2000s.
Nevertheless, de Liaño is determined to bring it his all in the tournament even though his brothers Joe and Javi backed out at the last minute.
“We joined this tournament with one mindset—to win.”
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