MANILA, Philippines: Terrafirma's young wingman Javi Gomez De Liano's PBA career night on Saturday was simply a byproduct of his hard work during the long offseason.
The 6-foot-5 De Liano fired a career-high 31 points in sparking the Dyip to a heart-stopping 113-112 win against the NLEX Road Warriors in their 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup match over the weekend at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
De Liano said entering the game, he knew very well that NLEX's defense will concentrate on containing Terrafirma's top gun Juami Tiongson, a reason why he was waiting for his opportunity to score and stay aggressive.
"Nothing special. Before the game, I know they're (Road Warriors) gonna check Juami because he has been playing well in the past games. So it's all about stepping up," said De Liano after the game.
"If he can't make his shots, I'm gonna make sure I step up then. And thanks to coach John and the coaches for trusting me, I got to make sure I deliver."
And deliver he did as the former Japan B.League player also added five rebounds and two assists in 37 minutes of action to give the Dyip a 2-1 record in the young PBA season.
De Liano believes the new-look Dyip have what it takes to finally, reach the playoffs and hopefully, contend for the title.
"It's just shows we want ti win this game, and it's like a brand new team with new players," he stressed. "This time we want to change the narrative of the team. I really think we can make it all the way to the playoffs, and hopefully make the run. We're just taking it one game at a time."
De Liano, who upped his per-game averages to 21.7 points and 4.7 rebounds after Saturday's game, shared he has no plans of slowing down.
"On my end, I've got to make sure I always deliver when I'm on the court. And at the same time, now that I'm getting more minutes, I also have to work on the other aspects that I need to improve on," he said.
"I had two turnovers that could have been controlled. Those small details, it makes me work harder so that I can get better."
Terrafirma return to action this Wednesday where it faces TNT at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.2023-11-19T13:09:20Z dg43tfdfdgfd