Juan Gomez de Liaño made his first full PBA D-League conference memorable by copping the 2022 Aspirants’ Cup Most Valuable Player plum, Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The coronation took place prior to Game Two of the best-of-three Finals between his Skippers and EcoOil-La Salle, a chance to make it a double celebration later in the day as they’re one win away from the crown.
The former Tokyo Z import was stellar all conference long, posting per-game averages of 18.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 6.3 assists through the semis as he led the club to their second Finals trip since joining the league in 2017.
He bested fellow Marinero Jollo Go, the EcoOil-La Salle duo of Michael Phillips and CJ Austria, Adalem-St. Clare’s Johnsherick Estrada and John Rojas, and Romel Calahat and James Una of Apex Fuel-San Sebastian for the award.
Gomez de Liaño had previously said that winning MVP honors isn’t the goal, but rather helping the Skippers win their breakthrough championship after falling short in past seasons despite fielding loaded lineups.
But it surely is a huge honor for the former University of the Philippines star as he joins an elite company of D-League Conference MVPs, some of which have gone on to enjoy successful careers in the professional ranks.