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2021 FIBA Asia Cup

Gilas looks to turn ‘super talented’ Juan GDL into a playmaker

Everyone knows how lethal of a scorer Juan Gomez De Liaño is.

During his three years in University of the Philippines, he averaged 12.43 points per game. Besides this, his 6.06 rebounds per outing is a testament to the 6-foot-1 guard’s athleticism.

“I am super impressed. He is super talented and a great kid,” said former interim Gilas head coach Mark Dickel during an episode of Coaches Unfiltered presented by SMART Sports.

“He’s got all the skills and tools. You want him to shoot, he can do that.”

“You talk about his skillset — he is one of the best in terms of ball screens, in terms of shooting from the outside and doing a lot of things as a shotmaker,” added Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ Special Assistant to the President Ryan Gregorio on an episode of 2OT, also presented by SMART.

But come the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers’ Manama window next week, he and Matt Nieto will have the task as general of the team.

Gone are the likes of Kiefer Ravena and CJ Perez, who can distribute the wealth.

Now, Gilas’ coaches want the 21-year-old to focus on becoming a playmaker during their camp at Inspire Sports Academy.

“One of the best that I’ve seen in terms of his age group, and he would be a good complement to the stability of Matt Nieto,” shared Gregorio.

“But if you’re a shotmaker, that means you’re only concerned about yourself. But if you’re a playmaker, you also get to involve the other four players inside the court.”

Besides this, Dickel wants Gomez de Liaño to become a lockdown defender as well, since he has the physical tools for it.

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“I would say defensively is a big issue for him, especially internationally. That’s something that he’s really got to work at, but he’s got all the physical tools to be good at it,” said Dickel.

Dickel, himself a guard for the Tall Blacks back in the days, sees one thing that Gomez de Liaño has on his side — time.

The current active consultant of TNT is confident that one day he will reach his potential.

“And he’s still so young time is on his side. I really think that he can have a good career here, especially in the PBA and in Gilas, if and when that happens.”

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