For eight games in a row, the Bay Area Dragons were able to beat one PBA team after another.
The NLEX Road Warriors were the visiting team’s latest victims, 111-104, on Friday’s tune up game at the Kerry Sports Gym inside Shangri-La Fort Manila.
Bill Tomlison, assistant coach of the Dragons, gave credit to Filipino coach Cholo Villanueva in helping fast-tracking the team’s familiarity on the Pinoy style of play that keyed the team’s successful pre-season campaign.
Villanueva served as an assistant coach to Franz Pumaren when the latter was coaching the Air 21 Express and the GlobalPort Batang Pier.
On Friday, Tomlison played a more active role coaching the Dragons and was assisted by Villanueva on the sidelines as head coach Brian Goorjian had to leave early after getting invited by the PBA to a meeting.
For Tomlison, Villanueva’s role in the squad was vital as the Dragons were able to figure out ways to study every PBA team’s tendencies.
“He’s great for us. He’s really good,” Tomlison told a small group of sportswriters. “He reminds us of a physical game here and that’s how it’s played. We haven’t scouted a lot of teams yet, but we did watch the (PBA) finals series. We haven’t met that level of play yet.”
Villanueva is the current coach of the Batangas City Athletics in the MPBL, but he was appointed as part of the coaching staff of the Bay Area Dragons recently for the coming PBA Commissioner’s Cup and the East Asia Super League.
The Bay Area Dragons will play as a guest squad in the Commissioner’s Cup and the team is eyeing to become the first guest team since the Northern Consolidated squad in 1985 to win a PBA title.
The NCC, composed of the last Philippine squad to win the Asian Basketball Confederation, now known as FIBA Asia Cup, was the last local team to win as a guest squad.
Nicholas Stoodley was the first foreign squad to win a PBA title in the 1980 Invitational Tournament and the Bay Area Dragons are looking to join that elite company of guest teams to win a championship in Asia’s pioneering professional basketball league.