ANTIPOLO, Philippines – Slowly but surely, Juan Gomez de Liaño is looking more and more like his old self.
In the UP Fighting Maroons’ stunning 81-77 comeback over the Adamson Soaring Falcons, the UAAP Season 81 Mythical Five member finished with a much-needed season-high 15 points on an efficient 6-of-13 clip in 26 minutes on the floor.
After languishing for much of the season due to lingering injuries, Gomez de Liaño is just relieved that his resurgence is coming at a crucial stretch for UP.
“I'm just really glad that I was able to deliver, help my team in my own way,” he said after the game. “Whatever role is given to me, I'm just willing to adjust and accept it. I'm happy that we won today and played until the end.”
“I'm just playing for my teammates and the community. I'm just trying to be selfless,” he continued. “I'm glad that I was able to create plays for my teammates and my self and we won, that's the most important thing.”
Gomez de Liaño also credits the Maroons’ budding rivalry with the Falcons for bringing out the best in him.
“It started last season in the semis. Twice-to-beat, twice beaten,” he said. “It was just two great, tough teams going at each other. I'm just glad today that we won today and I'm really happy for my teammates, my family. Today's win was really a big one for us.”
Incidentally, the 19-year-old guard’s career-high still stands at 30 points, which he recorded against Adamson in a Finals-clinching Game 2 win of last season’s Final Four.
Despite having a reduced role in a loaded squad, Gomez de Liaño only has his sights set for what truly matters down the season’s stretch.
“Just to see the team’s progress, we're not giving up, we're not settling for less,” he said. “We're trying to make it and prove ourselves that we can win the championship.” – Rappler.com