Cheap talk, Goorjian said, as he ponders how the Bay Area can do better in Game 2

PBA Finalist Scottie Thompson Ginebra

Barangay Ginebra defends Scottie Thompson in Game 1 of the 2022 PBA Commissioners Cup Finals at the Mall of Asia Arena. PBA . IMAGES

It didn’t take long for Dragons coach Brian Goorjian to determine exactly what caused the Bay Area to perish in the opening game of the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioners Cup series against Barangay Ginebra in Christmas day.

They are in order: “Brownlee. Glasses. And some of the ways we get [Andrew] Nicholson is comfortable on the floor.”

“We have to do something with [Justin] Brownlee and we don’t,” the Dragons mentor told reporters shortly after the 96-81 loss at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Brownlee finished with 28 points on a 9/16 shot while also scoring 13 more bounces and 6 assists in Game 1, proving this was an all-night thorn for the Dragons, who were defeated with a score of 58-35.

“We started well, but we couldn’t stop them,” Goorjian said.

“They killed us on the glass and we won [on] that. If we can’t, if we can’t [stop] Scottie Thompson, Brownlee, those guys out there, if they recover like that, we’re in trouble.”

foul incident

And given how early key man Zhu Songwei struggled with three early fouls, Goorjian stripped off a layer of diplomacy and added a bit of gaming prowess to discuss the last element: “… how they defend [Nicholson]—and his freedom of movement.”

He must be able to move somewhere. Wherever he went, a guy jumped on him and hit him, hit him. That’s what we learned in Game 1. And we’ll have to come up with a solution. That caught me off guard. Because I don’t think you’re allowed to do that,” he added.

“It was difficult to deal with the defense of our best player tonight. We can never release him. But this is something you learn from the knockout round.”

big factor

Zhu, the Bay Area’s deadly shooter, fouled just four minutes into Game 1.

“It’s an important element in the game,” Goorjian said. “I would say, those are good calls. [Zhu] foul, and that is undisciplined on his part. He did not make any adjustments. He fouled with his hand and he grabbed and he held. Those are the fouls that got us in trouble so that will be looked at.”

“But I say this again: They defended Nicholson like that and there was no penalty for it. Again, it’s hard to score points when you’re hit and held. They call it fouls. “I think they got away with murder on the other end of the line protecting him,” he added.

Goorjian understood that being able to troubleshoot and plan was one thing, but making sure the Gin Kings didn’t get away with murder was another.

“I told you things we were going to deal with, but talking was cheap,” said the Olympic bronze medal-winning mentor. “We have to get the job done.”

“They are deep, muscular, and long. And in general, I think we hit the ball poorly,” he added.


The Dragons took 30 of 78 shots from the field for a rate of 38%, while the Kings made 38 of 76 shots for a 50% rate.

Goorjian cut his job down if he wanted to hone these Dragons into a better battle group for Game 2.

But Ginebra LA captain Tenorio feels the insidious mentor will be able to do just that to avoid falling into a 0-2 tragedy. “They will be back. I’m sure of that,” said Tenorio.

“The ball is in our court. We have to get better in the second game,” said Goorjian. “We played pretty well tonight, so the ball is on our court to make some adjustments.”

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