After halftime scolding, Juan Gomez de Liaño rolls to triple-double
MANILA, Philippines – Juan Gomez de Liaño thrilled the crowd with a historic triple-double but he had a lot of reasons why he needed to bring a game-winning performance to the court especially in the second half.
The Season 80 Rookie of the Year ended the first half with a satisfactory statline of 4 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, but the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons were trailing the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, 41-44.
Gomez de Liaño admitted that they received a verbal beating from head coach Bo Perasol in the dugout during halftime.
"He (coach Bo) told us something in the dugout, so we just wanted to make him happy and play for the community," said de Liaño.
De Liaño and the rest of the Fighting Maroons then stepped up to prove themselves to Perasol as they outscored the Red Warriors, 53-37, in the second half which eventually led to the UP star's triple-double of 15 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.
It was the first UAAP triple-double in 12 years since Marvin Cruz, also from UP, tallied a similarly impressive statline in August 2006.
"Our mindset was different coming into the second half. We were being more aggressive, we’re getting stops, and we’re just running in transition," added de Liaño.
Aside from cheering up a disappointed Perasol, the Fighting Maroons' combo guard wanted to dedicate the win to his brother Javi who served his one-game suspension after getting ejected from the game against Ateneo.
"Our connection wasn’t there, but I know he’s supporting me at home, supporting the team, so we also played for Javi."
Last Monday, October 15, the second-year guard was close to not suiting up for the Fighting Maroons against the Red Warriors as he suffered from high fever that went up to 39.5 degrees Celsius.
Thankfully, he was ruled out of dengue, but he had to skip most of their practices as he only returned to training two days before game day.
After achieving a historic feat, Gomez de Liaño is confident that fans can see more triple-doubles coming from him in the future.
"I’ve been playing like this ever since high school and I think you guys know that. I’ll just continue to create for my teammates, do my job as a point guard, and be a playmaker," said Gomez de Liaño.
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