MANILA, Philippines – Former NBA player Myles Powell couldn’t disguise his excitement for the Dragons’ next game, which will be against the top club in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.
“I’m excited,” Powell said after the Dragons defeated the NLEX Road Warriors, 118 to 98, to secure a quarterfinal berth at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, a great confidence booster for himself and Bay Area as they prepare for a big matchup with Magnolia.
The guest squad from Hong Kong will face the Hotshots on Saturday at Philsports Arena in Pasig City in a game that coach Brian Goorjian sees as a litmus test to see if they are ready to contend for the major prize.
Magnolia finished the week 7 to 1, but will take a little break against San Miguel Beer on Wednesday. The Bay Area, on the other hand, will have the luxury of a week of planning.
Regardless, Goorjian is impressed with Magnolia’s performance under coach Chito Victolero. The Australian national team coach may not know Victolero personally, but he is aware of the Hotshots tactician’s abilities.
“I’m not familiar with him,” Goorjian said. “However, I’ve been impressed with what he’s accomplished with his team.” And in order to win, we’ll have to play extremely good basketball.”
Playoff bonus pursuit
The Dragons made it clear that they intend to finish in the top two, giving them a twice-to-beat edge. Goorjian believes his team is making progress.
“I believe we’re on the right track,” he remarked. “The team is improving, and it (the Magnolia match) will give us a good idea of where we stand heading into the playoffs, what we need to work on and what we’re good at, and where we sit because we’re playing the best.”
Powell, who had 36 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and two steals after his 50-point performance against Rain or Shine, was on the bench when Bay Area faced Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beer last month.
Under the agreement that saw Powell play the first four games and the latter play the next four, Andrew Nicholson was in uniform for those two major games.
“I missed the first two major games against San Miguel and Ginebra, so it’s nice to get a look against one of the more fancied teams here,” Powell said.
“It’s Saturday night, and I’ve been impressed with the supporters out here, and I know it’s going to be a good crowd.” We’ve got a week to get ready, and we’ll be ready.”
Glen Yang had 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists, while scrappy Hayden Blankley had 13 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists to demonstrate that the Dragons are more than simply Powell.
With the last defeat, NLEX continues its slide down the standings. The Road Warriors lost their fourth game in a row, dropping them to 11th place at 3 to 6.
After winning its first two games under interim coach Adonis Tierra, NLEX fell to 1 to 6 after Frankie Lim officially took over.