Bay Area head coach Brian Goorjian is enjoying the feeling of pressure and he hopes his wards would learn to thrive under it as well.
Two games on the books in the first seven-game series of his colorful career, the Australian champion coach is savoring the thrill of playing in the PBA Finals in a coliseum filled with fans rooting against his team.
“This thing is sensational and I want to experience as much of it as I can. Again I played a lot of finals over the course of my life. This environment is second to none,” said Goorjian who is a six-time Australia NBL champion and Coach of the Year.
“That stadium to the roof is packed and I have never been in one where there’s no one for you and everything's (about) them and that motivation is fun too. It’s like coming in here in the military, it’s us against the world, helmet’s on, let’s go,” added the seasoned mentor.
The first two games of the series were nothing but blockbusters with the first game attracting a huge 18,252 fans at the Mall of Asia Arena in which Ginebra won while the second game had 16,044 fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum witnessing Bay Area finally solve the Kings' puzzle.
Having experienced all of these for the first time, Goorjian admitted his charges felt some nerves playing in front of the crowd and he had to give them some pat on the back to boost their confidence for Game 2.
“This environment is incredible, the fans and all of them in that stadium cheering for their team. I felt the young guys were a little bit tense in Game 1 so I tried to support them and say take your shots,” said Goorjian.
“I've said to the group, just do what you did in the last game, take your shots. You got my full backing. I'm gonna coach the other side of the ball – rebounding and defense. They are young and I think the rim looked about that big the last game,” he added
Now that they also got the monkeys off their back, notching their first win against Ginebra since the eliminations, Goorjian hopes his young Dragons embrace an "us against the world" mentality and deliver and perform even in the most pressure-packed situations.
“I thought our guys bid into that (mentality). I told them that the Grand Finals don’t come often. Enjoy the experience, get off in this environment and play under this pressure, it’s got to be something you enjoy,” he added.