UNIVERSITY of the Philippines playmaker Juan Gomez de Liaño is relishing the opportunity to suit up for Nueva Ecija in the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM.
Gomez de Liaño said it was actually 3-on-3 play that caught his fancy while growing up.
“I was introduced to 3×3 basketball when I was eight or nine years old. I would play 3×3 with grown-ups. I grew up playing in the streets. You see everyone in the streets. They won’t be playing basketball,” Gomez de Liaño said.
“We’re playing 3×3 and that’s the OG (original),” he added.
The 6-foot-2 Gomez de Liaño, who is set to sit out the Fighting Maroons’ campaign in the 83rd UAAP basketball tournament to hone his skills as a member of the Gilas Pilipinas national team training pool, played in the FIBA 3×3 Under-18 World Cup in 2017 in Chengdu, China along with Fil-Nigerian AJ Edu, former San Beda Red Cubs standout Rhayyan Amsali, and La Salle guard Encho Serrano.
The squad wound up seventh in the 20-team field.
A former UAAP Rookie of the Year awardee, Gomez de Liaño recalled the highs of his 3×3 stint in China.
“It was very positive. Coming into that tournament, I remember there weren’t high expectations for us,” said the Fil-Spanish Gomez de Liaño. “We finished seventh but that was a great experience being able to compete at a high level.”
Gomez de Liaño, who has a special guest license from the Games and Amusements Board, said the Rice Vanguards are setting their sights on the top prize in the tourney kicking off this Wednesday at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna,
“We joined this tournament with one mindset – to win,” he said.
The likes of former pro Gab Banal, who played for Bataan and Basilan last season, Tonino Gonzaga, and another former PBA player in Jai Reyes will team up with Gomez de Liaño.