STILL on the road to recovery, Juan Gomez de Liano is hoping to return in time for the Grand Finals of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup presented by TM.
Friday is the target comeback date for the 20-year-old star guard as he seeks to make a difference for Nueva Ecija in the finale, where a P1 million cash prize will be up for grabs.
The 6-foot skipper suffered a right ankle sprain in Leg 1 last Wednesday. But the University of the Philippines standout is already walking normally and has returned to full workouts inside Inspire Sports Academy.
However, the Rice Vanguards management isn't taking any chances and has opted to sit him out for Leg 4 on Tuesday.
Gomez de Liano has missed the last two legs for Nueva Ecija, including Leg 2 where the team reached the Finals and settled for runner-up honors behind Family's Brand Sardines Zamboanga City.
He averaged 7.5 points in Leg 1 before the ankle injury, which he sustained after stepping on Bacolod Master Sardines' center Chris Lalata's foot.
Without Gomez de Liano, the Rice Vanguards have adjusted well in trotting a quartet of Gab Banal, Jai Reyes, Tonino Gonzaga, and Maclean Sabellina.
It will still be these four which will see action in Leg 4 on Tuesday against Pool C rivals Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors and Bicol Paxful 3x3 Pro.