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Korean Pro Basketball Playoffs Begin

Posted March. 31, 2006 03:01,   


Pro basketball player Shin Gi-seong (KTF) may be seeing rival Lee Sang-min in his sleep these days. Before he goes to bed every night, Shin watches game videos of his team’s first round playoff opponent KCC over and over. Shin’s attention is especially focused on the play of rival Lee Sang-min.

Shin will be facing Lee in KTF’s first round matchup with KCC in the Korean pro basketball playoffs that begin on March 31 in Busan. Shin and Lee’s meetings in the previous two seasons, in which Shin was playing for TG (now Dongbu), ended in a draw: each player’s team took one win each.

A war of words is heating up the rivalry. “Sang-min and other KCC players have a lot of experience. But if we maintain our focus, we will win,” said Shin. Lee Sang-min was confident of his team’s victory as well. “Our strongest point is that we have experienced a lot of big matches, and we have solid teamwork,” said Lee.

Yoo Jae-hak, the manager of Mobis, the team that will eventually play against the winner of the KTF vs. KCC playoff, said that the outcome of the series rests on the shoulders of Shin and Lee.

Dongbu and the Orions will kick off their playoff series on April 1. In the center of this clash of height versus speed are Kim Ju-seong, a Dongbu forward, and Kim Seung-hyeon, an Orion guard. The Orions designed their team to match up with Dongbu in the playoffs, hoping that Dongbu’s weakness guard will give them an advantage. On such calculated move by Orions, Dongbu manager Jeon Chang-jin said, “I would have done the same thing if I were the Orions manager.” Jeon remains undeterred however, saying that he is confident of his team’s post superiority in Kim Ju-seong. The Orions, who posted a 4-2 regular season record against Dongbu, plan to utilize fleet-footed Kim Seung-hyeon to take their opponent’s paint by storm.

Past playoff statistics show that there is 94.4 percent probability that the winner of the first match in the first round of the playoffs will advance to the next round. The four teams in the playoffs will likely wager everything on their first match.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com