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Juan GDL takes talents to Japan, signs with Earth Friends Tokyo Z

Juan Gomez de Liaño is headed to Japan to play for Earthfriends Tokyo Z. KC Cruz/ESPN5

Juan Gomez de Liaño's next step in his young career is the second division of the Japan B.League, signing with the Earth Friends Tokyo Z club as announced by the team Wednesday.

The guard will be signed under the Asian Player Quota provision, similar to the deal San-En NeoPhoenix struck with Thirdy Ravena.

"After the medical check, a formal contract will be concluded," said the team in a statement.

Gomez de Liaño, 20, was an integral cog for the Gilas Pilipinas cadets during the first window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, posting averages of 12.0 points, 3.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds.

In his final season with the UP Fighting Maroons, the 6-foot-2 playmaker started just once in 16 games and normed 8.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists.

The season prior, he was named to the UAAP Mythical Team, averaging 17.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists in 18 games played.

"I am honored to be part of the Earth Friends Tokyo Z Team. I am very excited to battle it out with you guys and compete throughout the season and to be part of the journey under coach Hugo [Lopez]," said Gomez de Liaño in a recorded video message.

"I'm looking forward to meeting you guys soon and I hope you guys support us through the challenges ahead," he added.

Juan's parents, Bert and Anna tweeted their support for their son as he embarks on a new journey for his blossoming career.

"Please join us in this journey. Challenges are plenty, but one thing is for sure, it is gonna be fun! #labanpilipinas," the couple tweeted.

Older brother Javi also sent his congratulations, also mentioning that it was "long coming."

Juan told ESPN5.com that he had been "patiently waiting" for this kind of opportunity.

"Honestly just been patiently waiting. Now that this kind of opportunity came up, it's hard to pass up on it. I've been preparing my whole life, being in my best shape to achieve this goal of mine to reach my full potential. Also just being a student of the game, trying to learn as much as I can to improve and hone my skills and as an individual on and off the court."