Bay Area Dragons duo Glen Yang, Duncan Reid laud ‘much better’ East Asia Super League after PBA stint
- Chinese franchise finish third in the five-day ‘Champions Week’ tournament in Japan
- Dragons to regroup for August training camp ahead of first regular season in October
Hong Kong basketball stars Glen Yang and Duncan Reid said the East Asia Super League (EASL) was in a “league of its own” in the region after their Bay Area Dragons wrapped up the five-day “Champions Week” tournament in Japan with a third-place finish.
The Chinese franchise finished second in their group, losing to Korean side Seoul SK Knights before easing past home team Utsunomiya Brex and advancing to the third-place play-off on Sunday.
The Hong Kong-based team then thrashed the Ryukyu Golden Kings – another home team – in Okinawa to pocket US$50,000 in prize money. Anyang KGC defeated the Knights 90-84 in an all-Korean final to be crowned champions.
“This is the end of the season for us and we are going to have a break before we prepare for next season,” Reid, who only featured against the Kings.
“The gap between the [Philippines Basketball Association] Commissioner’s Cup finals and EASL was tough for us as we lost some rhythm.
“We did our best to prepare with warm-up games but the timing of the two tournaments made it difficult.”
The Dragons – who finished as runners-up in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup as a guest team – have now wrapped up their first season, and point guard Yang felt the EASL is “much more competitive” than the PBA.
“We felt honoured and privileged to represent the league as the franchise team,” Yang, who started all three games in Japan, said. “The EASL competition is much higher than in the Philippines.
“The atmosphere has been great, especially when we played the home teams. Fans here were more respectful and controlled than the PBA fans, too. They were not as rowdy.”
Despite playing only seven minutes throughout the tournament, Reid agreed with his teammate.
“The EASL is the highest standard of basketball in Asia and has been an awesome experience for everyone on our team’” he said. “The atmosphere has been good and it has been fun to play in another country.”
The 33-year-old Reid, who has followed Hong Kong’s FIBA Asia Cup 2025 qualifying journey closely before playing in Japan, also revealed his desire to get back playing for his home city.
“I am planning to play in the Asian Games in September for sure and I would definitely like to join the Asia Cup qualifiers [in November] too,” he said. “I will be returning to Hong Kong to practise with the national team during the off-season.”
As for the 26-year-old Yang – who was born in Vancouver – he hinted at starting training again in a few weeks’ time.
“I plan to play in the 10-team Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) in the summer to continue to improve and stay sharp before we regroup for the training camp in August for the new season,” he said.
The 2023 season – which will be the fifth season of the CEBL – will take place from May 24 to July 30.
Sunday’s 90-70 blowout win over the Golden Kings marked the 19th win of the season for the Dragons across 27 games played in the Philippines and Japan.
“I think my team got better and better as the tournament went on and this was by far our best game in Japan,” Brian Goorjian, the head coach, said.
After blowing an 18-point lead against the Knights last Thursday, Goorjian blamed the team’s six-week gap from their last competitive game for the late meltdown.
The Dragons played only pickup games against college teams after losing to Barangay Ginebra in Game Seven of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals in January.
“The PBA was tremendous for us and really helped us prepare here,” the American-Australian coach said. “But we have not been playing games like the other teams coming to the tournament.”