Nueva Ecija will flaunt a stacked team ready to take down Zamboanga Chooks come the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup presented by TM.
And headlining the crack team, coached by Charles Tiu and backed by Bong Cuevas, are the Gomez de Liaño brothers — Joe, Javi, and Juan.
And having a trio of brothers in the three-a-side is particularly important. It means familiarity won’t be an issue for the Rice Vanguards, with the first-ever professional 3×3 basketball league in the country already set to open later this month.
“Juan is probably our most talented guys. I expect him to score a lot. Javi has been working on his game. He’s shooting straight and is one of our better shooters,” Tiu said.
“We also have Joe who is probably our most athletic player. He gives us a lot of athleticism and physicality,” added the youthful mentor.
Besides the trio, Nueva Ecija will also have Gab Banal, Jai Reyes, and Tonino Gonzaga.
Tiu expects Banal to lead the squad both on and off the court in this tournament endorsed by FIBA.
“We have Gab Banal. Banal has played before and he is our veteran guy,” said Tiu, as Banal previously played for Bataan during the league’s first-ever conference before being a guest player for Basilan in international competitions.
Tiu did note, though, that his team is the shortest in the league. Javi is 6-foot-5, Banal is 6-foot-3, Joe is 6-foot-3, Gonzaga is 6-foot-1, Juan is 6-foot, and Reyes is 5-foot-7.
That is why for Tiu, they need to be smart for the five-legged tournament to win the top prize of P1-million.
“Our team for one is a smart team. The guys are smart and pick up fast. We have to shoot and play fast because we are the smallest team in the tournament. We have to make it our advantage,” he said.
“Actually the challenge for me is how to rotate our players every leg.”