For Juan and Javi Gomez De Liaño, the historic entrance of the University of the Philippines in the Final Four of UAAP was a dream come true.
"It took six years to get to this point," said Juan Huang, the second-year guard, speaking of his high school trip to a star at the level of the elderly. "[I’m] just really happy for my team and the community. We did it for them. "
Six short years can be seen compared to the 21-year drought followed by UP, but it reflects the expectations of both a young player and a hungry community for success. Juan and Maroons Fighting Maroons entered the final four dramatically on Wednesday with a 97-81 win over the De La Salle Green Archers.
The 21-year drought of the final four ends for the University of the Philippines.
From start to finish, Ateneo Blue Eagles showed no mercy on the UST Growling Tigers.
"Six years, it took me six years, that's exactly what," said Juan, who was not even born the last time UP got a seat in the first four. "I'm waiting for this moment – to get to the Final Four."
Javi, Juan's eldest brother, shared the same dream even before going to college.
"This was my dream of high school since I was playing for UPIS, I wanted to promise to the UP community that we will get to Final Four, either in high school or in college," said Javi. "Unfortunately we did not get to high school, we have done it now, and I'm really happy, I'm happy about myself, I'm happy for the whole community because we never give up."
On Wednesday, the brothers played an important role in UP's revolutionary victory. Both Huang and Javi shot the lights out of the bow in the first half to give the combat fighters 23 points. By the end of the game, they had their fingerprints written throughout the contest. Juan had 27 points anchored by his four three-pointers as well as 11 shots from the foul. Tavi was just behind his brother with 19 points, linking his career high, and had four shots from the rainbow country. It was the dream of the brothers to reach Figure Four and they saw that this vision was fulfilled.
"For me, my personal dream from high school was to get to the final four," Javi recalled. "We were not able to get to the Final Four during my high school days. Fortunately, we finally managed to be really happy. "
"I knew it was coming, I felt it, I really hope for last year, but it fell short," said Juan to achieve their goal. "But then I promised, since I was away last year, I had a lot of interviews and I told everyone that we would make the Final Four. Yes, we are here."
Beyond the wish of the brothers to enter the long-awaited Final Four, it is worth noting their commitment to school.
Juan was an exceptionally famous high school prospect since becoming MVP in the Juniors ranks. But in the midst of the attention he got, he said after high school he had headed UP without hesitation.
Javi, who is a year in front of his younger brother, also focused on pursuing his collective career with UP. "I have never abandoned this dream of making the final four or the final." Head to college, I never planned to go to other schools, I said I want to fulfill my promise in the UP community and we will be at the top again. "
The dream of UP's two new stars helped give the community the first appearance of the Final Four in over two decades. They had a vision and were stuck with it through the thick and thin. Now that their dream is fulfilled, they will aim at a larger and higher goal.
"We are now in the final four, we are hungry for the Final Four. We were all working as a unit," Juan said. "I promised coach Bo (Perasol), I promised everyone. Now we are here, we do not take it for granted.
And like his brother, Javi feels exactly the same: "Well, we're here already, maybe we're targeting the championship."