UAAP: Top rookie Juan Gómez de Liaño confident UP will reach Final Four next year

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 14) — University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons guard Juan Gómez de Liaño is on his way to bag this year's UAAP Rookie of the Year honor.

He tallied 46.69 points to bag the highest individual award among first year players in the league.

The 6-foot-1 de Liaño shared the distinction with his teammates whom he said was instrumental to achieving the feat.

"I feel humbled and grateful that I won the award. A big shout out to my teammates. I wouldn't have gotten this award if it weren't for them," he told CNN Philippines' Sports Desk Tuesday night.

"I'm really happy with what I've shown this season," he added.

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The Fighting Maroons may shine next season as prized big man Bright Akhuetie will be suiting up for the Diliman-based squad after sitting out due to the one year residency rule.

De Liaño also confirmed that their leading scorer Paul Desiderio will be playing his final season with UP.

"Next year will definitely be a great season for us," he said.

"Paul Desiderio will be staying for his final year. We all know Bright Akuetie is coming in next year and JB Tungcab (a transferee from Adamson)."

READ: Former Altas Bright Akhuetie commits to UP Fighting Maroons

De Liaño is confident they will reach the playoffs next year with their reloaded lineup.

"Nothing less than a Final Four next season," he assured.

The 17-year-old de Liaño said he will improve some aspects in his game to further help the Fighting Maroons' quest for lost men's seniors basketball glory.

"I'll work with my handles, my shooting percentage, decision making, and basketball I.Q," he said.

UP finished with a 6-8 win-loss card to end up at fifth spot in the team standings this year.

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