A crack Bay Area Dragons team led by NBA veterans Myles Powell and Andrew Nicholson will take on the NLEX Road Warriors on Friday at Kerry Sports in Bonifacio Global City.
Both teams are using this tune-up play in preparation for the upcoming PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Powell, a 6-foot-2 Spitfire guard, is an NBA veteran who played for the Philadelphia 76ers under head coach Doc Rivers.
He played for the United States team that competed in the Pan Am Games three years ago straight out of college. He entered the NBA last year after being drafted the previous year and played 11 games for the Sixers, a team he used to cheer for being a fan of Allen Iverson.
Powell also had a brief stint with the New York Knicks coached by Tom Thibodeau.
Nicholson is another NBA veteran who played for three teams. The 6-foot-10 center/forward has seen action for the Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets.
These two players are using their time as Bay Area Dragons imports as a potential ticket to the NBA.
But more than just those two NBA veterans, the Dragons also have 7-foot-5 center Liu Chuanxing from the Chinese national team.
Curiously, the Dragons have also strengthened their coaching staff.
The Bay Area Dragons will be led by Olympian Brian Goorjian, who led the Australian national team to a third-place finish, its highest ever at the Games.
Filipino coach Cholo Villanueva assists Goorjian, giving the Dragons a taste of how Pinoy basketball is played.
Villanueva, head coach of Batangas City Embassy Whiskey in the MPBL, will also join the Dragons when the team competes in the EASL.
This means the Road Warriors will have their hands full and it will be a good chance for Earl Clark, another NBA veteran, to test his mettle.
Clark, who played for several NBA teams including the LA Lakers where he teamed up with the late Kobe Bryant, played his first tune-up game last week when the Road Warriors took on the Blackwater Bossing.
It remains to be seen how Clark had adapted to the weather conditions, as he was seen losing steam in the late game after an explosive start where he hit a bunch of treys for the Road Warriors.
“I sweated a lot, so I was drinking a lot of fluids because I felt my legs were starting to cramp,” Clark said.
The Road Warriors, who will likely be led by interim mentor Adonis Tierra, will play without two key players – Anthony Semerad and Philip Paniamogan, who are still recovering from injuries.
Semerad underwent a bone spur excision, while Paniamogan suffered a meniscal tear.
But the Road Warriors will always have a strong home side anchored on Calvin Oftana, now the team’s recognized star, who represented Gilas Pilipinas in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers where he had the opportunity to team up with NBA star Jordan. Clarkson.
Props Kevin Alas and JR Quinahan, Trollano, team captain Justin Chua, and healthier Matt Nieto and Raul Soyud also need to balance the team offensively and defensively.
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