MANILA, Philippines -- Brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño were among the breakout stars of the November 2020 window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers, as they shone for a youthful Philippine side that won two games in the bubble in Manama, Bahrain.
Juan was named as one of the top five performers in the window after averaging 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 50% from beyond the arc in Gilas Pilipinas' two wins over Thailand.
Older brother Javi, meanwhile, broke out in the second game, firing a team-high 19 points.
FIBA put a spotlight on the Gomez de Liaño brothers, noting that it was the first time they shared the court on the international level after having played together for University of the Philippines (UP) in the UAAP.
"It's been truly an honor and a blessing for us to be given this opportunity," said Juan, the younger of the two. "It also has been a great overall experience for both of us."
Juan, a former UAAP Rookie of the Year and Mythical Team member, said it was a dream come true to represent the Philippines with his brother, given that they learned the game together and played on the same team for most of their careers.
The two had shone in UP's juniors team before moving up the senior ranks and helping the Fighting Maroons become legitimate title contenders.
"It's been a long time dream of ours to finally represent our country together and play the game that we love at such a high level. I'm glad we made it happen," said Juan.
"The game for us is much easier every time we play together. We both know our tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses pretty well," he also said.
The Philippines defeated Thailand 93-61 and 93-69 in the qualifying window, improving their record to 3-0 at the top of Group A.