UNIVERSITY of the Philippines coach Bo Perasol is pleased that Juan Gomez de Liano earned a stint with Mighty Sports in the Dubai International Basketball Tournament, saying the high level of competition will be a boost not only for the UP guard but for the rest of the Fighing Maroons.
De Liano joins a squad featuring former LA Lakers star Lamar Odom and Ginebra resident import Justin Brownlee and former PBA players Joseph Yeo, Gab Banal and Jett Manuel in the tournament set Feb. 1 to 9.
“I personally know the strength of the competition there. I am sure that Juan will gain tremendously from that Dubai tournament,” said Perasol of his veteran guard who made heads turn during the team’s Final Four duel with Adamson in the UAAP.
“I am sure that whatever experience Juan will gain from the Dubai tournament he will share to his teammates,” added Perasol.
Mighty Sports team owner Alex Wongchuking cautioned the local players of the team backed by Go For Gold, Healthcube and Oriental Group not to be overwhelmed playing in a talented squad.
“They have to remember that we have chosen them because of their talents and we believe they can help the team. Huwag silang magpa star-struck,” said Wongchuking. “It is also our own way of helping prepare Juan for the coming UAAP season.”
Aside from de Liano, other local players of the team with practically no experience playing abroad are La Salle’s Santi Santillan and College of St. Benilde’s Justin Gutang.
Coach Charles Tiu has also tapped Fil-Am players Jeremiah Gray and Roosevelt Adams to beef up a team that won only one game in its maiden campaign in the annual tournament two years ago.
Aside from the reigning champion Coastal Star of Tunisia, also taking part in the event are three teams from a top-tier tournament in Lebanon and the national team of Jordan.
Tiu will have veteran coach Jong Uichico as one of his assistants.
“I am glad that Jong was given the clearance to join me in the team. He will be a huge help coz he can provide us with a lot of insights,” said Tiu. “I will meet him soon to start planning.”