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TG Coach Jeon Chang-jin Versus KCC Coach Shin Sun-woo

Posted April. 05, 2004 22:27,   


TG Sambo and KCC are in a toe-to-toe competition, sharing two wins and two losses each in the Korean Basketball Champions league. It is hard to tell which team has the advantage, now that the match system has switched from seven matches and four wins to three matches and two wins.

The match up at Jeonju on the 6th will be a promising game that will decide which team will clinch the winning trophy. In the history of the Champions league, a team that captured the fifth game stood on top six times. The team that takes the first match holds a winning probability of 86 percent.

That’s why the mind battle between TG`s head coach Jeon Chang-jin and KCC`s head coach Shin Sun-woo sparkles more than ever with the very match right on the tips of their noses, which will affect the existence of both teams. Head coach Jeon, hoping for two straight years of winning celebration, lost both of his team’s home matches and, after taking five shots of alcohol which he can`t take a bit, seemed determined to keep holding on to the title. Whereas coach Shin who showed plenty of reserve after winning two consecutive games to start, lost two straight and is absorbed in planning strategy in the fumes of two packs of cigarettes each day.

--Big in stature, with mighty sinews

"The Bear," Coach Jeon Chang-jin’s stiffened face brightened up as inactive holes and Yang Kyung-Min`s offense recovered, as well as his team’s solid defense and fast breaks.

"The Fox," Coach Shin Sun-woo, who is clever in various tactics on and off-court maneuvers, mentioned that he expected the match to drag to game seven and tried to keep much in reserve.

In the 5th match, forestalling the opponent seems to be an important factor. Looking at games one through four, the team that took the lead in the first half won all the matches. Coach Jeon infiltrated the experienced Huh Jae in game 3 and utilized the "Best 5" strategy for the first time, changing the atmosphere in the 1st quarter and snapping the team’s losing streak.

Coach Shin adopted the six-man system while substituting Pyo Myung-Il and Choi Min-kyu instead of the starting line-up in game four, and implemented irregular strategy, but the offensive strength weakened and resulted in a bad game. Dominating the opening part of the match is important since taking the flow with advantage facilitates the command of tactics and substitution of players in the game’s last moments.

The battle of "Spear and Sword" is catching to the eye. KCC, with its fascinating background, has good chances for success when the team scores over 90 points, so it will be well served by using Bassett`s screens to fortify its scoring power.

On the other hand TG’s solid defense led by Kim Joo-sung, Hall, and Derricks conducts a rotation defense and a transformed zone defense that allowed Minland to tie down KCC with 70 points.

If it were to turn out to a long match up in the first place, it would seem to be advantageous to the player-packed KCC. But among the starters, except for Bassett (27), the rest of the players’ average ages is 30.6 compared to the 29.2 age average of TG, with most of the KCC players in their 30`s. In addition to that, in the early games of the Champions league, the physical strength of Lee Sang-min (32) and Minland (31) distinctly plunged. Coach Jeon Chang-jin commented "I`ve found hope in the dullness of footwork of the KCC players."

TG`s injured player Yang Kyung-min and Derricks show fighting spirit, but their backups are desperate with players like Shin Jong-suk and Jung-hoon.

Depending less on Kim Joo-seong, who is showing weakness in offense in the 4th quarter, is another task.

In any case, the strategy and strength of the series have been revealed. From now on, burning hope and mental strength for a championship ring will be the key to victory.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com