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Sure to be Intense, KCC vs. SBS

Posted March. 24, 2005 22:45,   


In chess, the onlooker tends to be better at reading the board. But this time, even the most accomplished player looking on will be hard put to make a prediction.

The semifinal playoffs (best of five games) between the TG Xers and the Samsung Thunders, and between the KCC Egis and the SBS Stars, set to kick off on March 25, have most experts projecting a close match-up that takes the competition all the way to the fifth game.

To begin with the conclusion, they’re saying that TG, which has maintained a stable lead in the regular league, is likely to go on to the final round for the third consecutive year, but that the outcome between KCC and SBS will be hard to foretell.

Orions coach Kim Jin, MBC commentator Choi Hee-am, and SBS sports commentator Kim Tae-hwan pronounced, “Samsung lacks speed, and the severe inconsistency of Alex Scales, who leads the offense, is another weak point.”

By contrast, MBC-ESPN commentator Choi In-seon noted, “With Joo Hee-jung’s recovery, Samsung’s beginning to overcome its weakness in outside offense, and the movement of the ball has become faster as well.” He placed his vote on Samsung by saying, “TG’s substitute Awvee Storey still reveals a weak point in teamwork.”

Kyunghee University coach Choi Bu-young and Chung-ang University coach Chang Il, who are close friends with TG coach Chun Chang-jin and Samsung coach Ahn Joon-ho, seem to be giving Samsung slightly better odds even as they predict a close contest. Their rationale is that Samsung is on an upward swing, and that the team’s organization has improved.

Meanwhile, experts who forecast KCC’s victory point to its proven strength in big games and the defensive hole created by SBS’s Dontae Jones, who dislikes physical aggressiveness on the court.

Coach Kim Jin advised, “Ward can easily mark SBS’s Burrough. As for Kim Sung-chul, it would be better to leave him to Lee Sang-min rather than Cho Sung-won, who’s on the shorter side.”

On the other hand, Choi Hee-am and Coach Chang Il said, “KCC will have a hard time because Ward creates a hole,” and predicted, “SBS has a better shot at winning because even if Jones gets blocked, the remaining players are full of confidence.”

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com