Javi Gomez de Liaño also joins Japan B.League, signs with Ibaraki Robots

MANILA, Philippines — Former University of the Philippines standout Javi Gomez de Liaño is the latest Gilas Pilipinas player to play in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The Ibaraki Robots of the Japanese B.League announced the signing Monday afternoon, just 12 days after Gomez De Liaño’s brother Juan said he is also turning pro in Japan.

“I’d like to thank coach Richard (Glessman) and Robots management for giving me this opportunity of [a] lifetime,” the 22-year-old guard said in a statement published on the team’s website.

“At the same time, I can’t wait to play for you guys and meet the amazing community out there,” he added.

Gomez de Liaño’s last tour of duty was with Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers’ third and final window late last month. His finest outing was against Thailand during the second window in Bahrain, where he logged 19 points built on 7-for-8 shooting.

Before opting to play in Japan, both Javi and Juan still had a year of eligibility left to play college ball.

In Gomez de Liaño, the Robots are picking up a 6-foot-5 cager who has tailor-fitted his game for international play. A forward with the Fighting Maroons, Gomez de Liaño has blossomed into an even deadlier shooter and a versatile guard under coach Tab Baldwin’s system.

The Robots were recently promoted to the B.League’s Division 1, where Thirdy Ravena’s San-en Neo Phoenix is also playing. Tokyo Earth Friend Z, which snared the younger Gomez de Liaño, is currently in Division 2.

The Gomez de Liaño siblings are the latest Filipinos to join Thirdy Ravena in Japan through the B. League’s Asian Player Quota program.

Ravena’s older brother, NLEX guard Kiefer, was supposed to reinforce the Shiga Lakestars, another B.League Division 1 team. However, the Philippine Basketball Association put its foot down, reining in on the playmaker’s bid citing his live contract with the Road Warriors.

The Gomez de Liaño brothers’ bid to play overseas has now hiked the number of national team-caliber players playing overseas to four, counting 7-foot-3 prodigy’s Kai Sotto’s pact with the Adelaide 36ers in the Aussie National Basketball League.

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