With Juan Gomez de Liaño's commitment to the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM has his eligibility with the UAAP put into uncertainty.

/ 22 October 2020

The 6-foot-1 guard may have played his concluding game for the University of the Philippines (UP) last November 13.

Meanwhile, during the press conference that promoted Chooks 3×3 as a professional league last July, Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Baham Mitra shared that the management is permitting non-pro players to enlist in pay-for-play leagues through a special guest player license.

Siguro iba ang pagkakilala niyo sa GAB noon, iba sa ngayon. Ngayon kasi flexible kami,” said Mitra.

“If you remember noon, in the professional leagues, amateur and guest players were allowed to play including guest teams,” he continued as UP was once a guest team in the PBA during the late 80s.

This is the exception given to the Azkals Development Team in the Philippines Football League (PFL).

Guest players are only allowed to receive allowances and cannot be paid with salaries. Also, the pot money cannot be shared with the guest player.

However, as stated in the UAAP’s by-laws, its affiliated student-athletes cannot participate in any GAB licensed competitions. The UAAP and other collegiate leagues do not report to GAB.

Moreover, the collegiate league does not recognize GAB’s guest player exemptions since the competition the student-athlete will play in is still overseen by an official from the agency.

Kahit nga makita ang isang UAAP player sa sabong na under GAB makes him ineligible,” a league insider said. “And difference nung ADT (Azkals Development Team) sa case ni Juan is national team yung Azkals na maglalaro sa PFL.”

Knowing the existing league regulation, brothers Joe and Javi declined the opportunity to play for Nueva Ecija in Chooks 3×3 with Juan. Justine Baltazar and Encho Serrano of La Salle, Bryan Santos of UST, John Lloyd Clemente of NU, and Neil Tolentino of UE also decided not to suit up for Pampanga in the NBL.

On the other hand, Juan still played his first game in the pro league on Wednesday against Petra Cement-Roxas City ZN Rockies.

Furthermore, Gomez de Liaño has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup Leg 1 playoffs, Wednesday evening.

Nueva Ecija will have to continue their campaign with just three men after the 6-foot-1 guard sustained a right ankle sprain with 5:15 left in their 21-19 win over Bacolod in the last game of Pool D.

The UP stalwart stepped on Chris Lalata’s foot after his drive and was immediately subbed out of the game.

His injury was a big blow for Rice Vanguard as the team already lost Maclean Sabellina who suffered a cut on his nape during the game.

Ganyan ang Nueva Ecija team. Hindi tayo magpapatalo,” said Gab Banal after the two-on-three victory with Jai Reyes.

However, Juan’s older brother Javi expressed his dissent for what he felt was a dirty play.

“Playing dirty is never okay in all levels smh. Playing physical is far different from playing dirty. Still got the win tho,” he tweeted.

Gomez de Liaño averaged 7.5 points in the two games played in the group stages.

Unless he is given a special exemption, GDL will end his three-year stay with Fighting Maroons with averages of 12.43 points, 6.06 rebounds, and 3.28 assists in 46 matches played. He was the UAAP Season 80 Rookie of the Year, a silver medalist and Mythical Team member during Season 81, and a bronze medalist in Season 82.