Brothers Javi, Juan Gomez de Liano not closing doors on PBA stint

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2021 02:33 PM

Brothers Javi, Juan Gomez de Liano not closing doors on PBA stint 1


MANILA, Philippines -- Brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano both have great respect for the PBA, but admit that the opportunity to play abroad was too good for them to pass up.

The brothers, both of whom played for University of the Philippines, became the latest Filipino players to take their talents to Japan's B.League. Javi will play for the Ibaraki Robots in the league's first division, while Juan signed for Division 2 side Earthfriends Tokyo Z.

"It was for my personal growth," Juan explained to former PBA commissioner Noli Eala on his "Power and Play" program.

Older brother Javi concurred, saying: "The fact that I'm playing abroad with other people around the world, I think that will help me grow as a player. I'd also grow here naman as a player but I think it's really different playing abroad."

However, both of them still hope to one day play in the PBA, as they both grew up watching the local league.

"Kami ni Javi naman, we also dreamt of playing in the PBA. Hopefully one day, makarating din kami diyan. We have a lot of idols there," said Juan.

"We respect the league so much, we grew up here in the Philippines, we grew up watching the PBA," he added.

This, of course, is assuming that the league does not close its doors on the Gomez de Liano brothers -- as well as other Filipino players who have decided to play abroad.

The league is reportedly reviewing its controversial "draft dodger" rule, which essentially requires local rookie prospects to declare for the PBA Draft within two years after their last playing year. If they opt not to do so, they have to write to the league and explain their decision, or risk being banned by the PBA.

The rule, which came to play in 2018, has been heavily criticized particularly in recent months, and is now supposedly under review by a study group led by Bobby Rosales, the vice-chairman of the PBA Board of Governors. 

Javi and Juan are both aware of the rule and are hopeful that it will be amended eventually.

"Hopefully, sana they change it in the near future," said Juan, a former UAAP Rookie of the Year and Mythical Team member. "But at the end of the day, this is for our personal growth. We want to maximize our full potential, not just as a player but as a person."

"I'm aware of (the rule). But you know, on my end, I always tell myself, as much as possible, I really wanna work hard, to play abroad," said Javi, for his part. "Hopefully, I wanna play long abroad. Pero let's say, if I get a ban in the future, I really don't know. Only time can tell. Whatever happens."

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