EASL: Bay Area Dragons tap Australian mentor as head coach

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2022 04:23 PM

Boomers coach Brian Goorjian looks on ahead of the Men's Semifinal Basketball match between the USA and Australia at the Saitama Super Arena during the Tokyo Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, 05 August 2021. File photo. Joe Giddens, EPA-EFE.
Boomers coach Brian Goorjian looks on ahead of the Men's Semifinal Basketball match between the USA and Australia at the Saitama Super Arena during the Tokyo Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, 05 August 2021. File photo. Joe Giddens, EPA-EFE.

MANILA, Philippines -- Brian Goorjian, the head coach of the Australian men's national basketball team, will be calling the shots for the Bay Area Dragons when they see action in the East Asia Super League (EASL) as well as the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

The franchise announced on Thursday that they have signed Goorjian for two seasons.

The 68-year-old Goorjian coaches the Illawarra Hawks in the National Basketball League (NBL) and steered the Australian national team to its first ever Olympic medal when they won the bronze in the Tokyo Games last year.

In the NBL, he is a six-time champion and a six-time Coach of the Year.

"I am honored to be appointed as the Bay Area Dragons' head coach, and I am looking forward to the challenge," said Goorjian. "Being the first guest club in the PBA in two decades while competing in the premier league in Asia, East Asia Super League, is an exciting prospect."

Goorjian and the Dragons will compete in the PBA's midseason conference, as they will make Manila their temporary home for the EASL due to the COVID-induced, travel-related issues in their home city of Hong Kong SAR.

Goorjian, a product of Pepperdine University, will manage a roster of top free agents from Hong Kong SAR, Mainland China, Chinese Taipei and Macau SAR for its local players.

Like the rest of the teams in EASL, the Dragons will also have one Asian import and two foreign import players, making up its dynamic roster. In the PBA, the team will play with one import with a 6-foot-10 and below height limit.

"Brian Goorjian is one of the best coaches in the world and holds a deep understanding of Asian basketball. Without a doubt, he will make this club very competitive. He's developed some of the best players in Asia and coached the best teams. Goorjian's accolades speak for themselves," said EASL chief executive Matt Beyer.

"With Coach Goorjian at the helm, the Dragons will deliver a product that all Chinese fans can be proud of. As the first-ever Chinese club to play internationally in a foreign league, the goal of our organization is foundation and to build a team that'll be at the top of the standings. Coach Goorjian is the first step in doing so," said Bay Area Dragons general manager Liu Quansheng.

EASL, which has a 10-year agreement with FIBA, will bring eight of Asia's best teams in the region's top leagues together every week to compete for a US$1 million prize. It aims to be one of the top three leagues in the world by audience size and commercial revenue by 2025.

The newly formed Bay Area Dragons franchise and the champion team from Chinese Taipei's P. LEAGUE+ will be the Greater China representatives in the home-and-away league.