Xers snuff out Egis to secure KBL championship seriesWonju’s Chiak Stadium in Gangwon province was covered with confetti to congratulate the home team that won the 2004-05 Korean Basketball League’s Anycall Cup.
The TG Sambo Xers defeated Jeonju’s KCC Egis 84-76 in the sixth game, to take the series 4-2. TG Sambo also had the best record for the season with 36 wins and 18 losses.
The team thus avenged last year’s 3-4 loss also against KCC Egis, who this year won only games three and four. TG Sambo also won the regular season in 2003-04.
Center Jameel Watkins and forward Kim Joo-sung built a solid defense from the inside while guard Kang Ki-jung was lethal from the wings, contributing much to the team’s winning record.
In what proved to be the final game, Watkins scored 20 points with eight rebounds, Kim scored 12 points with seven rebounds, and Kang had 12 points and seven rebounds.
Kim won the Most Valuable Player award, garnering 34 votes from the 62 sports journalists covering the series, ahead of Watkins, who received 25 votes.
The game was already lopsided in favor of TG Sambo by the second quarter with the 2.04-meter-tall (6.7 feet) Watkins effectively defending the home team’s basket, while his cover, KCC Egis’s Jung Hoon-jong, proved no match for him.
Watkins’s aggressive offense from the inside led Jung to commit four fouls four minutes into the second quarter and he was replaced by Jung Jae-kun. However, the substitution also proved ineffective in deterring the American.
Watkins proved his strength when he scored with a jump shot despite Jung holding back his arm.
TG Sambo led the game 20-13 in the first quarter and pulled ahead 47-34 in the second. KCC Egis, trying to pull the game back, were forced to rely on long-range shots by Charles Minlend and Cho Sung-won, but to no avail.
All five starters for TG Sambo achieved double digit scoring, while KCC Egis’ Minlend had a game-high 36 points with 12 rebounds.
After the game, Most Valuable Player Kim Joo-sung said, “My mother could not come to the regular games because she was sick, but she came to watch the playoffs, and this gave me strength.”
Kim also won the Best New Player award for the 2002-03 season, and the MVP for the 2003-04 regular season.
by Sung Baik-you, Limb Jae-un