In keeping with its partnership with the East Asia Super League (EASL), the PBA has opened its doors to the Bay Area Dragons of Hong Kong, China as a guest team in the upcoming Governors’ Cup hostilities.
Players from mainland China, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei and an overseas reinforcement will mentor the Dragons as they take on the country’s top professional clubs in the Season 47 import-flavored competition.
The Dragons will be the first overseas team to participate in the PBA since the UBC Thunderbirds and the US Mail and More Fil-Am selection participated in the 2004 Fiesta Conference.
“It’s a great opportunity for the PBA to have the Hong Kong Dragons compete here,” PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said during yesterday’s Zoom press conference with EASL CEO, Matt Bayer, and Chief Financial Officer, Henry Kerins. “Not just in terms of revenue, it also helps us in terms of raising awareness and attracting more fans, especially from the Chinese community.”
The Dragons will be based in Manila from approximately August to March 2023 as they compete in the Governors Cup as well as the inaugural EASL tournament which kicks off in October.
Like the Dragons, representing Greater China, two PBA teams, which will be selected in a lottery involving the top four in the Philippine Cup, will dive the EASL as professional league bets.
Marcial said the 12 PBA clubs, including the franchise that will eventually take over from Alaska, will be in a win-win situation with opponents China in the Governors Cup.
“It will work both ways. They will learn from us, we will learn from them. They will see the Filipino style of basketball and we will see how the Chinese play,” Marcial said.
In the Philippines, the Dragons will be ready to play Gilas Pilipinas in the scrums, according to Mr Bayer.
“We can solve this problem,” Mr. Bayer said. “Let’s improve Gilas and also create a huge business impact. Let’s continue to give fans what they want, which is more exciting basketball after this horrible pandemic.” — Olmin Leyba