Scrubbing of EASL start heightens Dragons’ desire to breathe fire in PBA
About the only thing that has marred the Bay Area Dragons’ stay here in the country so far was a sudden change in itinerary for the team.
But with everything else going on as planned, including another win added to what has been an unbeaten run thus far, coach Brian Goorjian remains unperturbed.
“It’s out of our control,” Goorjian said after the Dragons overcame a big first-half deficit to pull off a 101-91 victory over the struggling Phoenix Fuel Masters in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Olympic bronze-winning coach was referring to the fact that East Asia Super League (EASL) postponed the supposed start of its inaugural season.
Bay Area was among the clubs that was supposed to take part in the continental competition originally scheduled to kick off on Oct. 12, along with counterparts from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup finalists San Miguel Beer and TNT.
That development has made the PBA campaign, supposed to be held as an EASL preparation, more important for Goorjian’s team which has made a strong impression on Filipino fans.
“We just know that we got a tournament playing the top teams,” he said. “Right now, it’s how important this is for us and how much we’re enjoying this competition, and excited about trying to do something special in this.
“And then knowing that when [the PBA is] finished, we had our second import and we play our full team and we get a chance to play the top teams not only in the Philippines but from everyone else [in East Asia]. So that’s still there, it will just happen in a different format and we’re quite comfortable with it.”
Myles Powell, playing the third match in a four-game tour of duty before he hands responsibilities to Bay Area’s other import Andrew Nicholson, overcame a flat start to finish with 32 points in another splendid showing for the ex-Seton Hall guard.
Powell and the Dragons again found themselves having to adjust with the PBA physicality, resulting in the import exchanging words with the usually-calm Fuel Masters mentor Topex Robinson late in the third.Both were assessed with technical fouls before the two hugged it out when the game ended.
“Everyone out there wanted to win, being competitors,” Powell said. “He came up to me and he apologized, and I apologized back and there are no hard feelings.”