MANILA, Philippines – Juan Gomez de Liaño is likely set on taking his talents back home to play for Gilas Pilipinas as the country hosts Group A for the first the two windows of the FIBA World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers this February.
Possibly confirming multiple reports, the 22-year-old rising star reposted on his Instagram stories a Slam Philippines photo of him in a national team uniform with the caption “back for more buckets.”
He also teased his return on Twitter.
If ever the former University of the Philippines star guard does return home for the FIBA window starting this February 24, it will be his first on-court appearance since last playing for the Japan B. League’s Earthfriends Tokyo Z back in early December 2021.
Up until his possible return home, Gomez de Liaño had been looking for a new home in the B. League, either in Division 1 or 2, after mutually agreeing to a release from Earthfriends contract.
The 6-foot-1 guard endured an up-and-down start to his professional basketball career while with Tokyo. In 17 games, he averaged 5.3 points, 2.4 assists, and 2.2 rebounds in under 17 minutes a game before being deactivated and subsequently released.
Gomez de Liaño’s Gilas tenure, meanwhile, told a different story.
During his last stretch at the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, the former UAAP Mythical Team member posted norms of 12.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in just under 16 minutes a game.
If ever he does suit up the Gilas blue and white anew, he is likely bound for considerably more playing time, especially after the exit of the full-time Gilas core of Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, and brothers Matt and Mike Nieto.
Regardless of what happens with his new national team stint, Gomez de Liaño can still return to Japan and continue his pursuit of a new team.
The B. League Division 1 will have a stoppage from February 7 to March 4 to make way for national team training and FIBA window games, while the Division 2 will continue with a full February schedule. – Rappler.com