Quinito – Boomers coach cites Pinoy fans | PhilStar

4 minute read

Australian national basketball team head coach Brian Goorjian, whose father Ed was the late Ron Jacobs’ assistant at Loyola Marymount in 1979-80, is convinced that an East Asian team could someday contend for a medal in the Olympics or FIBA World Cup and described the development of Philippine hoops as “incredible … due to the local fans’ die-hard love of the game.”

Goorjian, 67, was recently reappointed the Boomers head coach, a position he held in 2001-08, and will pilot the squad in the Tokyo Olympics. If Australia shows up for the FIBA Asia Cup third qualifying window wherever it is held next month, Goorjian will likely call the shots for the Boomers. He has coached 20 years in the National Basketball League (NBL) of Australia and 10 years in the Chinese Basketball Association. In 2019, Goorjian took Zhejiang Guangsha to third place in the East Asia Super League (EASL) Terrific 12 in Macau, beating San Miguel Beer, 91-89, in the playoffs.

“The Philippines is so rich in basketball passion and culture,” said Goorjian who has visited Manila at least twice. “The style of play is great … super fast, quick in transition and all about hustling. Basketball in the Philippines continues to improve and you’re seeing a lot more stars come into the league at all positions. You’re also seeing more international attention with guys like Thirdy Ravena and Kai Sotto. The way the game in the Philippines is developing has been incredible.”

Goorjian said he’s not discounting an East Asian team to rise up and become a serious international contender, particularly as the Philippines is the lead host of the FIBA World Cup in 2023. “Platforms like EASL will only help teams competing in the Olympics or World Cup with more international exchange opportunities and the ability to go up against elite competition that may have not been seen before,” he said. “The only way to get better is to go up against elite competition and that’s what these teams need more of. EASL helps bring that to the region.”

Goorjian’s exposure to basketball in China and Australia is extensive so that he’s able to comment authoritatively on their growth. “The support for the teams, the coaching, the broadcast rights package, the number of kids playing, the development programs have all gone through the roof in the last 10 years in China,” he said. “That support has led to a lot of development on the court for players as well as commercial support off the court. Australia is also seeing a lot of development in recent years. The NBL has done a great job marketing and getting fan support.”

With the inaugural EASL season set in October, Goorjian said the participating countries will benefit from the exposure. “I believe domestic leagues and national teams, as well as basketball and entertainment ecosystems in the Philippines and other EASL geographies, will greatly benefit by participating in EASL,” he said. “The PBA will increase exposure across the world going up against the best competition in the region which leads to more commercial opportunities. It will also increase the level of basketball and help the national team establish a pipeline of talent. As far as the country goes, EASL’s home and away format will bring more overseas fans to the Philippines and foster international exchange among players, coaches and fans.”

Regarding the infamous brawl between the Philippines and Australia in 2018, Goorjian said “the entire basketball community should strive for more international games and exchanges that are positive to lay a foundation for good sportsmanship among the next generation of athletes.”

Source: The Philippine Star
Joaquin M. Henson
January 27, 2021

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