Bay Area coach says team gained valuable experience in PBA Finals loss to Ginebra
MANILA, Philippines—Bay Area head coach Brian Goorjian believes his Dragons are not going home empty-handed after their Game 7 loss to Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Sunday night.
He insists that his club was able to pocket something that will last a long, long while.
“I keep saying that this was the clincher. The whole reason why I left Australia is I believe in this: You need international competition,” he said on the heels of a 114-99 defeat that ended their promising campaign in Asia’s pioneering pro league.
Goorjian, who also calls the shots for the Australian national team, noted that playing a high-caliber team at a high-stakes contest such as that night would augur well for everybody.
“The Philippines needs it. This whole region needs it. For Gilas, for these teams, these players. Our players are gonna be better, and the region will become better by playing against teams like this,” he said.
Bay Area, the No. 1 seed of the midseason showcase, and Barangay Ginebra, the crowd darlings, traded bombs in a race that went its full, seven-game distance. That stage for the finalé couldn’t have been better: A you-or-me before a record mammoth crowd of 54,589 at Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
“When we fell behind, I kept looking up and I was just scratching my head. I haven’t seen anything or been a part of anything like it and it’s just an incredible experience,” Goorjian said.
“I would’ve loved to put on a better game for the crowd, But it is what it is, and as I said, we’ll lick our wounds and fight back. But the experience is incredible,” added the American-Aussie tactician, who steered the Boomers to a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympic games.
Goorjian said that taking on a team like the talented and gritty Gin Kings would immensely augment the growth of his wards.
The Dragons, after all, were assembled just last year, using youngsters like Kobey Lam and Hayden Blankley as cornerstones.
“These guys have never experienced a team like Ginebra. They played against good teams but [Ginebra] is different. There’s the physicality, there’s the toughness, there’s the emotion that they’ve never experienced before and they’re gonna grow from this,” Goorjian said.
“They’re gonna become better players and I got players that are 22, 23 years old that have an opportunity to grow and this experience is gonna make them better,” he went on.