It all started with the recruitment of former Juan Gomez de Liano by the Lithuanian professional basketball team BC Wolves to make the former University of the Philippines standout as the first Filipino male import in a European league.
Gomez de Liano is actually the second Filipino to play in Europe after Gilas Pilipinas women stalwart Jack Animam played and made a big impression with Radnicki Kragujevac in Serbia back in 2021.
The BC Wolves now have a 4 win-1 loss record in the Lietuvos Krepsinio Lyga and recently joined the European North Basketball League (ENBL) and are just beginning to grow their fans outside of Europe, beginning with the Philippines in Asia.
Gomez de Liano, known for his acronym JGDL, had a breakout game by tallying 22 points on 5-on-9 three-point shooting, 4 assists, 5 steals, and a blockshot to lead the Wolves to their second straight win in the ENBL at the expense of the Valmiera Glass Via Basketbols.
Along with JGDL’s impressive showing is the growing popularity of the Wolves on social media. They now have 94K followers with Filipinos making significant contributions to the figures, according to a team official.
This helped Wolves team officials, led by CEO Andrius Žiauberis and Head of Communications Jokūbas Kudaba, to focus more on the Filipino market by hiring brand and marketing specialist Glenmarc Antonio to become the team’s regional manager in the Philippines.
The growth of the social media following is just one of the milestones achieved by the team in just a short period.
“Rest assured that we are working very hard behind-the-scenes para masuklian namin ang inyong mainit na pagsuporta. Marami kaming hinahanda at pinaplano para sa mga Pinoy fans na patuloy na sumusubaybay sa paglalakbay ni Juan at ng Wolves sa aming mga sinalihang European basketball tournaments,” Antonio promised.
Shortly after Antonio was appointed to oversee the growth of the BC Wolves brand in the Philippines, veteran Filipino commentator, Bill Velasco, to do the English commentary for the team’s live streaming of its ENBL games on its social media page, BC Wolves (BC Wolves).
“It is an honor to be part of another ground-breaking basketball broadcast,” said Velasco, who has done countless commentating works for local and international sports coverages, including the Philippine Basketball Association, Olympics, and FIBA games.
And just recently, the BC Wolves announced that announced a local merchandising partnership with Jersey Haven, a Philippine-based sports manufacturer specializing in high-quality sports apparel.
This officially marks the availability of BC Wolves licensed merchandise for on-court and off-court products exclusively for the Philippines, making Jersey Haven their trusted apparel partner in the club’s inaugural seasons with the Betsafe-LKL and the ENBL.
These are now available for purchase in Jersey Haven’s official website with a special section devoted to all things BC Wolves – https://jerseyhaven.com.ph/bc-wolves/
“We are delighted with the partnership with Jersey Haven. We have a lot of fans and followers in the Philippines, who now will be able to get Wolves merchandise. The Philippines is and will continue to be one of our main markets outside of Lithuania”, said Ziauberis.
Basketball is big in Lithuania, which is currently ranked 8th in FIBA global standings and remains a powerhouse in the hoops landscape, and of course in the Philippines.
The first collection will feature the game jerseys of Juan Gomez de Liano in the club’s official colors for home and away games, plus t-shirts with the club logo, and mugs as gift items.
Succeeding collections will be announced online very soon and are expected to be highly anticipated items for on-court and off-court use by athletes and basketball fans alike.
“We’re excited to become the first-ever Philippine sports apparel company to partner with a European basketball club and provide top-notch products to our Filipino basketball fans,” said Jersey Haven owner & CEO Andrew Kentson Tan.
“With Jersey Haven, we look forward to building on this partnership and showcase our manufacturing expertise in various product offerings that will help grow the BC Wolves following in the Philippines as they expand their presence outside of Lithuania and towards global visibility.”
As the Wolves seek to expand their presence in the Philippines, it’s not impossible that they are on the lookout for another Filipino basketball player that can join them in their quest for honors in the Europe cage circuit.
Up next for the Wolves are games against Estonia, Poland, Israel, and more.