Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
    View Today
    Wed, Mar 22

    Ginebra-Bay Area PBA title duel attracting huge audience in China

    Jan 11, 2023
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    THE grueling PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals between Barangay Ginebra and guest team Bay Area Dragons is enjoying a wider audience not only in the country but in mainland China as well.

    East Asia Super League (EASL) CEO Matt Beyer disclosed the best-of-seven series has likewise been attracting the attention of Chinese basketball fans mainly due to the Hong Kong-based Dragons, whose several players previously suited up in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

    See LA Tenorio a game-time decision as guard down with abdominal strain

    “We’re averaging over 250K fans per game on our social media channels’ livestream in China during the playoffs,” said Beyer, who arrived in town on Tuesday to watch Game Six of the finals on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    The games are being livestreamed on EASL’s Weibo account as well as the Dragons’ Weibo and Douyin channel.

    Chinese basketball fans are of course, familiar with the names Zhu Songwei, Liu Chuanxing, Zheng Qilong, Ju Mingxin, and Song Jianhua, who are all CBA veterans.

    Zhu and Liu are making big impacts for the Dragons as they’re given playing minutes by coach Brian Goorjian to go with either import Andrew Nicholson or Myles Powell, Australian born Hayden Blankley, NCAA Division 1 player Kobey Lam of the University of Charleston, and Hong Kong-born point guard Glen Yang.



    The 6-foot-9 Zhu is part of Goorjian’s starting unit and was the No. 4 overall pick by Sichuan in the 2020 CBA draft. In the Commissioner's Cup finals, he’s averaging 16.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists against the Kings.

    ‘Big Liu’ meanwhile, usually gets the attention of many owing to his massive 7-foot-5 height. He played for the Qingdao Eagles in the CBA, was signed as a Development Player by the Brisbane Bullets of the Australian National Basketball League, before joining the Dragons, where he’s contributing 3.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in the finals.

    “It’s fun, it gives the Chinese fans the opportunity to catch the games live instead of just watching the recap or the post-game interview,” said EASL Philippine head Banjo Albano.

    “Some of these guys’ families haven’t really got to watch the games live. So to be able to see it and to put them from the stand that they’re gonna be there, it’s added excitement for them to perform because they know that even though their families are not here, in spirit they’ll be able to cheer them from home as opposed to watching the post-game or just hearing them afterwards,” added the son of former NCAA champion coach Larry Albano.


      As early as the playoffs when EASL began livestreaming the games of Bay Area, livestreaming audience has been on the rise.

      During the quarterfinals, 38,000 viewers were tuned-in across both channels when the top seeded Dragons eliminated the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 126-96.

      Watch Now

      In the semis, 51,000 watched as Bay Area completed a mighty comeback against San Miguel Beer to pull off a 103-102 thriller in Game One of the semifinals series.

      In the deciding Game Four which the Dragons won to advance to the finals, about 100,000 were hooked up to the match and witnessed CJ Perez and June Mar Fajardo miss consecutive shots in the Beermen’s final two possessions.

      The figures obviously surged as the Dragons test the mettle of the PBA’s most popular ballclub, which currently leads the series at 3-2.

      Crowd attendance has also been on a swing be it at the Big Dome or the Mall of Asia Arena as the title series is averaging attendance of 17,000.

      Game Five drew in the biggest audience of 21,823, while the lowest attendance was pegged at 15,004 in Game Three.

      Bay Area offering something new to the PBA apparently has been largely recognized by fans both here and in China that Beyer is keeping his fingers crossed, the Dragons would be allowed to play in the league again.

      “It should lay the foundation for a PBA media rights deal in China for next season if Bay Area Dragons return,” said Beyer, the man responsible for bringing the Hong Kong team over and play in Asia’s pioneering pro league.

      Read Next
      Watch Now
      Sorry, no results found for
      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
    • POLL

      • Quiz

        Quiz Result