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Juan GDL makes anticipated return to 3×3 come Chooks President’s Cup

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Tiebreaker Times Juan GDL makes anticipated return to 3x3 come Chooks President's Cup 3x3 Basketball Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 News  Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards Juan Gomez De Liano Coronavirus Pandemic 2020 Chooks-to-Go President's Cup 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 Season

After three years, Juan Gómez de Liaño is back in the arms of his true love — 3×3 basketball.

The 6-foot-1 guard, who took a break from his duties with University of the Philippines, will suit up for the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards in the upcoming 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM.

And for Gómez de Liaño, it just feels so good to have a chance to play again.

“I was introduced to 3×3 basketball when I was 8 or 9 years old. I would play 3×3 with grownups; I grew up playing in the streets. You see everyone in the streets. They won’t be playing basketball,” the Fil-Spaniard told FIBA 3×3.

“We’re playing 3×3 and that’s the OG.”

Though part of the generation that played the modern rules of the halfcourt game, it was only in 2017 when Gómez de Liaño was able to showcase his talent in the FIBA circuit.

Together with AJ Edu, Rhayyan Amsali, and Encho Serrano, the quartet led the Philippines to an unprecedented seventh-place finish in the FIBA Under-18 World Cup.

And Gómez de Liaño still remembers that moment up to this day.

“It was very positive. Coming into that tournament, I remember there weren’t high expectations for us. We finished seventh, but that was a great experience being able to compete at a high level,” he said from inside Inspire Academy, which Chooks 3×3 dubs as the ‘Calambubble.’

But unlike the U18 Worlds, Gómez de Liaño will be the young gun in Nueva Ecija. The most experienced in the Rice Vanguards IV is Gab Banal, who played for Bataan and Basilan last season. Then there are Tonino Gonzaga and Jai Reyes, both of whom are 5-on-5 veterans.

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For Juan — who holds a special guest license from the Games and Amusements Board — they did not join the tournament just to take part in it. They are here to take over.

“We joined this tournament with one mindset — to win.”

The 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup, powered by TM, begins on October 21 and ends on October 30.

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