MANILA, Philippines – For a team as stacked as Barangay Ginebra, there is still a place for a player like Javi Gomez de Liaño.
Gin Kings head coach Tim Cone expects Gomez de Liaño to provide an immediate impact as Ginebra picked the former UP standout as the No. 8 selection in the PBA Draft on Sunday, May 15.
“I think that he can step in and play with us right away,” Cone told reporters in the middle of the draft at the Robinsons Place Manila in Ermita.
“He has got a really good size for his position. He can shoot the three. He is an experienced player.”
While Gomez de Liaño is technically a rookie, he is no stranger to the grind of professional basketball.
The Gilas Pilipinas pool player recently wrapped up his season with the Ibaraki Robots in the Japan B. League, where he averaged 3.2 points and 1.1 rebounds in 36 games.
But limited playing time in Japan prompted Gomez de Liaño to return home as he resumes his pro career with Ginebra.
“He played overseas already in Japan so he has got that experience also, so it just seemed like an obvious pick for us at No. 8, Cone said.
“[Javi] can play the two or the three. At some point, I hope we can develop him into a two. He can play two, three, and maybe, he can play as a stretch four some time.”
Gomez de Liaño being a household name in local basketball also helps for the PBA crowd darlings when it comes to their fanbase.
“He is popular and I think the fans are going to like him,” Cone said.
The Gin Kings also nabbed their PBA 3×3 player Jayson David of Lyceum in the second round and Cone is pleased with their haul.
“We knew we were not going to get a (Brandon) Rosser or Greg (Slaughter) or someone like that. But we’re really happy with Javi.” – Rappler.com