Not even the presence of two former National Basketball Association players and a stratospheric Chinese center can convince head coach Brian Goorijian that his Bay Area Dragons will run roughshod over the opposition in the import-spiked Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup next month.
“I think we’ll be competitive. (But) those top two teams we are watching right now will be a challenge just to be honest,” Goorijian said, referring to All-Filipino Cup protagonists San Miguel and TNT Tropang Giga.
Bay Area Dragons will be the first foreign club that will step on the PBA court since the UBC Thunderbirds and US Mail and More Pro-Am Selection came here to play in 2004.
“It’s gonna make us relentless and play at a high pace as far as the development of Chinese basketball (is concerned). We can’t be in any better position.”
In its initial showing on local soil, the Dragons flexed just enough muscle in dispatching Ateneo de Manila, 102-93, in a tuneup game last week.
Led by former NBA players Andrew Nicholson and Myles Powell, the squad will also feature Hong Kong cagers Glen Yang and Kobe Lam.
But the biggest headache for the PBA locals will be the 7-foot-5 slotman Liu Chuanxing.
The Chinese big man last played for Brisbane Bullets in the Australian National Basketball League and is expected to be a terror inside the shaded lane.
Goorijian also tapped the services of Filipino tactician Cholo Villanueva to inject local presence on the sidelines.
“I know we have strengths, we have a 7-foot-5 kid that is on the floor. What I’m gonna enjoy about this is it’s going to make us tough,” Goorijian said.
“We brought (Villanueva) him into practice and I can tell you the things that we’ve seen there and just basketball knowledge-wise.”