NBL chiefs laud return of Bullets
Photo Source: EPA
We knew the Brisbane Bullets were back. But we didn't know they'd be good.
In their comeback match after eight years out of the NBL, the Bullets found their range with a stellar 72-65 win over reigning champions Perth Wildcats.
The result sent the 7,000-strong crowd at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre into delirium - and produced fist-pumping from head office.
League chiefs set a goal of bringing the Bullets back two years ago, and general manager Jeremy Loeliger said he couldn't be happier with their first-up match.
"It's a fantastic result for the league," he told AAP.
"We always want the home team to win. But from a league point of view, to have the Bullets play like that and come back like that in the way they did, in front of a crowd like this - it's a brilliant result."
Bullets fans roared their approval at the city's return to the league after an eight-year hiatus.
They had reason to cheer from before tip-off, with every person in the opening night crowd finding a free shirt on their chair.
Even when the Bullets opened cold to trail by 13 early in the second quarter, the energy was strong.
A 19-point third-term streak inspired by Jermaine Beal and Adam Gibson had Andrej Lemanis' side in front, where they stayed.
Loeliger said he wasn't surprised by the noise on full-time when the Bullets confirmed their win over the league's heavyweights.
"We were expecting a big crowd tonight and it lived up to the hype," he said.
"It proves the point that we were making all along, the Brisbane Bullets fanbase never went away.
"With Cam Bairstow, Matt Kenyon and Rebuen Te Rangi all coming back in the line up, it's pretty exciting up here."