MANILA, Philippines -- Bo Perasol on Monday welcomed the news of Javi Gomez de Liano's intent to return to the University of the Philippines (UP) and play in his final season of eligibility for the Fighting Maroons.
Gomez de Liano is already eligible for the PBA Rookie Draft, and figures to be a first round pick following his solid performance for the Philippine national team during the November 2020 window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers.
However, he decided to return to UP, telling sports website Spin that he wants to "show how I really play and maximize my full potential in my last playing year."
Perasol told ABS-CBN News that Gomez de Liano's commitment to return for his fifth and final playing year "is not just good for our program but to the whole community, as well."
"There's no doubt that after his stint with the Gilas national team, his contributions will be very valuable to our quest to finally win the crown," he added.
In UAAP Season 82, Gomez de Liano averaged 10.43 points on 49% shooting, along with 3.36 rebounds per game while playing an average of 20.3 minutes per contest.
But during the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Bahrain last November, he displayed his explosive scoring ability, putting up 14.0 points while shooting a blistering 78.6% from the field. In the Philippines' second game against Thailand, he put up a team-high 19 points, going 7-of-8 from the field including a perfect 4-of-4 from long range.
By returning to UP, Gomez de Liano may end up playing with brothers Jordi and Joe. However, it remains to be seen if they can be joined by Juan, the former Rookie of the Year and UAAP Mythical Team member.
Juan's eligibility remains in question after he played in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup in November.
"I think his status will have to be deliberated by the UAAP board, if just in case he expresses his desire to play for the school again," Perasol said of the younger Gomez de Liano brother.
Both Gomez de Liano brothers were part of the UP team that made a Cinderella-run to the finals in UAAP Season 81. But they fell short of expectations in Season 82, when a powerful squad that also included Kobe Paras bowed to University of Santo Tomas in the semifinals.