This is what Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño have always told themselves.
From playing basketball since kids, becoming stars in college, to now starting new careers in Japan, it has always been about chasing the dream.
The basketball scene in the Philippines is evolving and more doors have opened overseas for Filipinos to get their Ws.
Thirdy Ravena, a three-time champ and former Finals MVP in the UAAP, was the first to head to Japan’s B.League as an import. More big names have been thrown into the mix, including the Gomez de Liaño brothers.
Instead of taking the more traditional route of turning pro in the Philippines, the GDLs followed the path laid out by Thirdy and looked abroad.
“There’s a world out there that loves and plays basketball. And luckily, countries like Japan, Korea, and also Taiwan, are starting to recognize our talents in the Philippines,” Javi said in SLAM Philippines’ digital series OFDubs, which aims to put a spotlight on Filipino basketball players doing work overseas.
While both Javi and Juan are keeping the PBA in their plans in the future, they’re both focused on improving and taking on new challenges in a foreign land.
Adapting to a brand new style of basketball will be an element both Juan and Javi will need to adapt to at the B.League.
The basketball landscape is certainly changing internationally hence the ability to run with bigger, faster, and taller players is key to their basketball careers moving forward.
They believe that the move to Japan fits well with both their timelines for their careers.
Juan, 21, is still looking forward to an opportunity to play in the NBA or the Euroleague in the future.
“My dream, really, is to make it to the NBA. That’s far ahead. That’s why I think heading to Japan will help me develop not just as a player, but as a person as well,” said Juan.
Javi, meanwhile, is looking to establish a solid long-term career playing basketball overseas in transitioning his game into a big guard.
This first step in international basketball is a great start for them to establish themselves competitively together with other talented players abroad.
Juan will play for Earth Friends Tokyo Z at the country’s capital while older brother Javi will play 129 kilometers away in Mito, Ibaraki.
The brothers both played for the state university; both represented the Philippine national team. They’ll soon play in different locations in Japan. They’ll put on different jerseys and drop buckets on new defenders.
The dreaming continues.