Seoul SK, the only team in the league to not sign an Asian quarterback last season, has bolstered its roster. Juan Gomez de Riano (24, 183 centimeters) finally joined the team after a tryout.
Gomez arrived in the country via Incheon Airport on the 22nd. He underwent a medical on the 23rd and joined the squad. Gomez said, “I’m very happy to join SK. I feel blessed. The KBL is a high-level league, and I’ve heard that all the teams have a good professional mindset,” he said.
Gomez is of mixed Filipino-Spanish heritage. He attended the University of the Philippines and represented the Philippines in the 2020 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and the 2021 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers. She averaged 6.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in five international games.
Gomez spent the 2021-2022 season with Earth Friends Tokyo Z of the Japanese B2.League, where he averaged 5.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 17 games. Most recently, he played for BC Wolves of the Lithuanian League, averaging 3 points, 1.1 rebounds, and 0.6 assists in 5.2 minutes in seven games.
With the departure of Choi Sung-won (KGC) and the need for guard reinforcements, SK narrowed down its options in June, held a tryout in the Philippines, and signed Gomez to a three-year contract. His annual salary is $160,000 (approximately KRW 214 million), which is similar to what Justin Gutang (LG) made last season.
“He’s a left-hander, but he’s not the type of player you’d see at first base. I think he’s more of a No. 2. His shooting ability is not as good as Lee Sun Albano (DB), but it’s good enough. His penetration and 2-on-2 development are good, so I think he can play dual guard. Of course, we have to test it in practice.”
Coach Jeon Hee-chul also said, “When I watched his videos from the Japanese and Lithuanian leagues and tryouts, he had good judgment on when to pass and when to attack directly. However, we need to improve our three-point shooting percentage. His shooting mechanics are good. His shooting stance isn’t shaky, but his three-point percentage wasn’t high when he was in other leagues. I think there’s room for improvement if we organize his role better.”
In fact, Gomez shot just 20 percent from three-point range during his time with Tokyo Z, but he was highly regarded for his defense. “There’s a perception that Filipino players are weak on defense, but Gomez showed a willingness to defend. He has a strong body and enjoys physical battles. His posture and steps when defending were good. Of course, we’ll have to see in practice, but his 2-on-2 defense was also good.”
Gomez added: “I’m a team player. I look for my teammates’ chances and create good combinations with everyone I play with. I think my defense is also an advantage. I’m ready to sacrifice for the team to win.”
SK lost Choi Jun-yong (KCC) and Choi Sung-won to free agency, but Oh Se-geun joined the team and Ahn Young-joon was discharged from the military. Based on their strength alone, they should be able to advance to the championship game for the third consecutive season.
Gomez said, “I have high expectations. As a member of the team, I think that if I do my best to fulfill the role given to me by the coach, good results will come. I want to play in the KBL for a long time and be remembered as a good player and teammate.”
SK will play an exchange game against Japanese teams in Japan from September 8-10, and will travel to Los Angeles on September 11. Gomez will join the team for the overseas training camp, and the team plans to improve its adaptability through practice games in Korea beforehand. 소닉카지노
Coach Jeon Hee-chul said, “He was the most prominent player I saw at the tryout, but I signed him after seeing him briefly, so I think we need to find other strengths and improvements while training. First, we need to familiarize ourselves with some patterns. He may play a little bit as early as the practice game (vs Chung-Ang University) on the 24th.”