Sometimes, stats do lie.
Javi Gomez de Liano picked up his career game on Sunday afternoon, tallying 19 points on 9-for-19 shooting in 32 minutes when the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons took on the National University Bulldogs. However, if he were to be asked, it was not his best game.
“Career-game, pero as a player, I played really bad,” rued the third-year Fighting Maroon, whose previous high was 17 points.
“I’d rate myself like D or because of my defense.”
The 6-foot-5 forward notched his career-high with 9:16 left in the game, scoring on an and-one to give UP a 73-64 lead. That was the last points he scored in the game.
On defense, the primary players he defended had stellar games as well, with Joshua Sinclair picking up his career-high of 13 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Shaun Ildefonso, on the other hand, had 12 points and eight rebounds – six coming from the offensive end.
In contrast to those two Bulldogs, Gomez de Liano gobbled down eight rebounds.
Besides not boxing out, the 19-year-old also missed two crucial free throws late that almost led to an NU hijack.
“That was on me. I didn’t box out really well. Tapos ayun nga, I missed those free throws,” he added.
“Siguro, new experience kasi it’s my first time shooting those free throws na crucial so I’ll learn from that.”
Luck was on the side of the Fighting Maroons as JV Gallego, the Bulldog who got the rebound, made a blunder late as time expired.
“I thought it was going to be Adamson part two, please no, no. Good thing he kicked it out to Dave [Ildefonso],” he exhaled, as UP held on to an 89-88 win to go up to a tie for fourth in the standings.
With all this still new to him and the Fighting Maroons, Gomez de Liano knows that this will only make him a better player.
“It’s about being positive and patient for me.
“The preseason, parang I was losing myself. I didn’t know what my role was for the team so I was left sa bench. Pero being benched, that kinda helped me na rin to work on the things that I lacked,” he shared.
“It’s all about trusting din. I really trust our coach well. Whatever happens, I’m just doing my part off the bench. We need more bench contributions so I think that’s what my role is,” he added.
And the next time he picks up a career milestone, he hopes that it will be his best game as well.