THERE were a lot of shaky moments in the University of the Philippines’ season, but Juan Gomez de Liano’s faith in his team never wavered.
The sophomore guard was very vocal in saying the Maroons will make the Final Four this season, but that vow came into question after UP compiled a pedestrian 3-4 record at the end of the first round.
But Gomez de Liano never doubted the Maroons' resolve.
“No no no no,” said Gomez de Liano when asked if there was ever a point in the elimination round when he doubted if the Maroons will make the Final Four.
“We just stayed together as one unit. We never gave up, even though there were a lot of struggles and ups and downs, we just stayed together and that’s the most important thing,” he added.
Gomez de Liano said he wasn’t surprised that the Maroons ended two decades of absence from the Final Four. In fact he expected the team to make it to the playoffs as early as last year.
After failing to keep his promise last year, he wasn’t going to eat his words a second time.
“It took me six long years to get to this point. Hard work really paid off,” said Gomez de Liano.
“I knew it was coming. I actually thought last year na sana e, then we fell short, then I promised ever since, offseason last year, I told everyone that we’re gonna make the Final Four, here we are,” he added.
Against La Salle, the fighting Maroons certainly looked like a Final Four team as they blew past the Green Archers 97-81.
The 6-1 lefty said that all those struggles brought them to this point.
“I think those struggles brought us where we have to be,” said Gomez de Liano.
“I think ever since I committed, I promised him (coach Bo Perasol) a Final Four spot as soon as possible. Here we are right now. Next step now, the team’s very hungry to win a championship. We’ll have to work.”