“I will turn it over in the championship game as a master of reverses.” (Seoul SK coach Jeon Hee-chul)
“It’s embarrassing to use both hands (predicting the series). I will finish it within the 5th game” (Kim Sang-sik, coach of Anyang KGC)
New rivals KGC and SK will reunite on the stage to determine the strongest player in professional basketball. Having lifted the championship cup in the regular league and the East Asian Super League (EASL), KGC is aiming for the triple crown. SK, the protagonist of안전놀이터 last year’s combined championship, challenges the ‘Perfect Ten’ record held only by KGC.
The Professional Basketball League (KBL) held the 2022-2023 season championship media day at the KBL Center in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on the 23rd. KGC coach Kim Sang-sik, Byun Jun-hyung, and Omari Spellman came out, and SK coach Jeon Hee-chul, Kim Seon-hyung, and Jamil Warney attended.
KGC had an overwhelming regular season. He won the wire-to-wire (first place from start to finish) and became the first champion by defeating SK in the EASL final held in Japan on the 5th of last month.
At this point, the objective power is also superior. Oh Se-geun and Moon Seong-gon are in good health in the spellman Byun Jun-hyeong combination. After that, Park Ji-hoon, Bae Byung-joon, Jeong Jun-won, Han Seung-hee, and Yang Hee-jong will stand up. The presence of Abando, the ‘SK killer’ lens, is out of standard. Recording an average of 9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1 assist per game this season, he averaged 20.4 points, 4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 5 games with SK.
On the other hand, SK is about to play a defensive game without two top forwards in the league. Ahn Young-jun enlisted in the military, and Choi Jun-yong was also absent due to an injury. With a relatively thin player base, he has played more matches than KGC, so his physical strength is also a concern.
However, with the recent momentum, KGC is also at the level of folding. From the 6th round of the regular league to the previous 6 PO games, they had 15 consecutive wins. In KBL history, KGC was the only team in the 2020-2021 season to lift the championship cup with 10 wins and undefeated in the PO of the 6th and 4th rounds, a best-of-5 match, and the champion match, a best-of-7 match.
The head coaches of both teams raised five fingers side by side when asked how many games this championship match would go on. Coach Kim said, “(Byeon) Jun-hyung led wire-to-wire as a guard at a young age, and this is an activity that has not been recorded in all records,” and “I believe he will do well in the championship game.” Coach Jeon replied, “For the sake of the fans, we’ll have to go until Game 7, but if we do, we’ll collapse. If we’re going to win, we want to play at home.”
Of the two, SK prefers short-term play. It is because the physical burden of the main players is inevitably getting worse. Coach Jeon confessed, “We have to play basketball with a rush.”
That’s why it’s most important for KGC not to give off the atmosphere. Contrary to last year, as I am in a position of being ‘chased’, I may not be able to show my performance due to the pressure. The fact that the venue for the 5th game was changed to SK Anbang Jamsil Student Gymnasium is also a variable. The first match between the two teams for the championship title will be held at the Anyang Indoor Gymnasium on the 25th.