Photo by Naveen Ganglani/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – UPIS Jr Maroons standout Javi Gomez De Liano sees himself as a good fit in the rebuilding environment of the UST Growling Tigers as he ponders his future in the UAAP basketball seniors division.
De Liano, who’s part of the 2016 SLAM Rising Stars Game, confirmed he has yet to commit to a college. The graduating high school student is coming off an impressive juniors campaign for UPIS in Season 78 which was highlighted by an inclusion in the league’s Mythical Team.
“In terms of basketball, I think I will fit good at UST,” said the 6-foot-5, 17-year-old talent on Saturday, March 19, during a press conference. “Cause they’re like a rebuilding team so they need to get players.”
UST is losing the services of star players Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag, both of whom played their final years of UAAP eligibility in 2015. Even veteran big man Karim Abdul is no longer going to see action after playing 5 seasons.
UST is also currently in an overhaul with Coach Bong Dela Cruz out of the picture following allegations of verbal and physical abuse. The school has yet to announce a new head coach for the Growling Tigers.
“I trained [with UST] last summer, but it was the old coaching staff - Coach Bong, Coach Gina [Francisco],” said De Liano.
The student-athlete did not confirm if UST has made a formal offer.
“I plan to take up Physical Wellness and Commerce in UST,” De Liano also said about his targeted college major. “That’s my ideal educational place.”
De Liano, who scored 37 points in a game this season, said he also practiced with the UP Fighting Maroons last month but has stopped since. Both sides are currently not in contact.
“I did the other month with UP, but I stopped going there because it’s still my exam week… so I have to study.”
The athletic standout admitted on Saturday that he has many areas to improve on before playing senior division college basketball.
“First I have to bulk up… I have to get faster, because I won’t be playing the number 4 position anymore. I think i’ll play the number two. I have shooing but it’s inconsistent so I really have to work on that more.”
There have been comparisons of De Liano to Ferrer, last season’s UAAP MVP runner-up, and he didn’t shy away from them.
“I think Kevin Ferrer. Like a stretch 4 who can bring the ball down. Playmaker,” was his answer when asked to compare his game to a UAAP player. – Rappler.com