MARINERONG Pilipino was in clear danger of missing out on the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup Finals.
Touted as one of the favorites to win the crown, the Skippers were on the brink of elimination as they had to weather the biggest punches from Apex Fuel-San Sebastian.
That was until Juan Gomez de Liano decided that enough was enough.
The University of the Philippines guard took it upon himself and saved the day for Marinerong Pilipino, draining a pair of crucial treys before sealing the deal with his huge layup with 52.4 seconds left as it took the hard-fought 69-64 Game Three win in the semifinals.
It capped off his magnificent all-around game as he finished with 23 points, eight rebounds, and six assists in the do-or-die game, one that allowed him to claim the Cignal Play-PBA Press Corps D-League Player of the Week award for the period August 15 to 20.
Gomez de Liano edged EcoOil-La Salle's CJ Austria and Michael Phillips for the plum as the group, made up of sportswriters and editors covering the beat, hands out citations in celebration of the developmental league's 10th season.
But for the 22-year-old, he wouldn't be able to do his conference-saving performance for the Skippers if not for the team playing on the same page.
"I think it was really all in our team mindset. I give credit to my teammates. They gave me a lot of confidence especially in those crucial times," said the 6-foot guard, who is also one of the frontrunners to cop the Conference MVP trophy.
"Just having the right mindset coming into this do-or-die game, sinasabi ko nga lagi sa kanila to not waste the opportunity because we worked so hard to get to this point. Sayang naman pag pinakawalan lang namin, so we're glad that we got the win and focus na kami sa Finals."
Now that Marinerong Pilipino is just two wins away from its goals of winning its maiden crown in the developmental league, Gomez de Liano urged his teammates to put all of those desires.