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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Bay Area Dragons bare new cage lineup

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Hong Kong—Hong Kong-based professional basketball team the Bay Area Dragons, which will be named the “Chun Yu Bay Area Dragons” in a Hong Kong competition for their affiliation with the Hong Kong Basketball Association Chun Yu Basketball Club, have signed five new players from mainland China and Hong Kong SAR for the 2023-24 season.

Eight players from the team’s inaugural 2022-23 season are returning.

The new signings are: power forward Ramon Cao, who joins from Florida College in the US; guard Seva Chan, who last played with Australian NBL1 West team Cockburn Cougars; guard Adili Kuerban, previously with Fujian Sturgeons in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA); shooting guard Oliver Xu, who joins from Hong Kong Eastern in the territory’s A1 Division; and Wang Yunzhang, who last played with Beijing University of Chemical Technology in the Chinese University Basketball Association League.

The returning players are: guard Hayden Blankley; small forward Ju Mingxin; center Liu Chuanxing; guard/forward Kobey Lam; center Duncan Reid; guard Glen Yang; power forward Zheng Qilong; and power forward Zhu Songwei.

The Dragons will add several more names to their playing roster before the start of the season.

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The Dragons will once again be led by Head Coach Brian Goorjian, the six-time Australian National Basketball League champion who also led the Australian national team to the Olympic bronze medal at Tokyo 2020. He will be supported by a coaching team again including Assistant Coach William Tomlinson (three-time Australian NBL champion, China Women’s National Team Assistant Coach) and strength and conditioning coach Francesco Berre.

Coach Goorjian said, “We’re building this team based on our learnings from the previous season, which was a successful one. We’re very excited about the potential of our roster this year and can’t wait to showcase our players’ talent to fans in Hong Kong SAR and the world.”

The Dragons will play home games in Hong Kong in the 2023-24 season. They will compete in East Asia Super League Season 2 and in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.

The Dragons will also play several exhibition games in China in September against China CBA teams as part of their pre-season preparations, with the schedule to be announced in the coming weeks.

Glen Yang said he was looking forward to renewing rivalries with EASL Season 1 and PBA opponents. “All I’m going to say is: revenge season! We’re coming back for blood!” the Hongkonger said. “All those teams we’ve got history with. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be a lot of action, it’s going to be intense.”

Liu Chuanxing, the 7-foot-5-inch Chinese center, said, “I’m looking forward to playing with our new players, fighting for new goals together this season. With the foundation that we laid last year, plus our new guys, I’m excited for the journey ahead.”

EASL CEO Matt Beyer said, “I have no doubt the Dragons will once again prove to be the most dynamic and exciting new team in East Asia in EASL Season 2. Now they are based in Hong Kong, they will put Greater China talent on an even bigger stage and will continue to be a catalyst in improving the level of the game in the region.”

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