Mobis to give KCC a run for their money in finalsThe Korean Basketball League finals will be a battle between the reigning champions and the team with the best record in the regular season.
The Mobis Phoebus will host the KCC Egis in the best-of-seven KBL finals starting Wednesday night at 7 in Ulsan.
Mobis finished first in the 2010 regular season with a record of 40 wins and 14 losses and has consistently ranked among the top, finishing first four times in the past five seasons. Yet despite the impressive track record, the Ulsan-based team has won only one title during the five-year span.
Having defeated Dongbu Promy in four games in the semifinals, Mobis head coach Yoo Jae-hak is keen to erase some of the doubts basketball fans have about Mobis’ ability to come up big in the finals.
“Mobis boasts a strong defensive squad. I was impressed with the manner in which Kim Dong-woo shut down Marquin Chandler in the semifinals,” KCC head coach Hur Jae said at the KBL finals media day yesterday. “I’m in awe of how Yoo manages his players.”
Still, Yoo is coming up against the defending champions. After winning the title last season with the help of rookie center Ha Seung-jin, KCC added point guard Jeon Tae-pung from the KBL’s half-Korean draft and picked up last season’s scoring leader, Terrence Leather, in a midseason trade with the Samsung Thunders.
“We finished the regular season third overall last year and again this year,” Hur said at the media day event. “We ended up winning the title last season, so it’s a good feeling to be third again. We’re looking forward to good results.”
KCC finished the regular season with 35 wins and 19 losses, and is coming off a semifinal series win over the KT Sonic Boom in four games.
“KCC struggled a bit in the early stages of the regular season before improving slowly since the middle of the season. They have been dominant in the postseason,” said Yoo.
With Ha’s status for the finals still unclear, most of the burden rests on Jeon’s shoulders. The point guard has been an all-around leader on the court, providing scoring, passing and floor leadership in his first KBL postseason.
“We’ll work to limit Jeon to doing only half of the things that he does so well on the court. I cannot go into detail about what we have prepared for Jeon,” said Yoo.
The key player for Mobis will be the regular season’s Most Valuable Player, Ham Ji-hoon. KCC’s coaching staff will have to work on ways to preserve the savvy player’s energy in the finals.
“We’ll work to limit Ham on a game-by-game basis,” said Hur.
KCC’s veteran forward Choo Seung-gyun could very well become a key factor in the series. Choo will be vying for his fifth title, and is currently the only player in the league to have won four titles.
Last season’s finals series MVP struggled in the first three games of the semifinals, scoring an average of 3.66 points, but connected on 24 points in game four to help KCC win the series over Dongbu.
The first two games of the series will take place in Ulsan, with games three and four shifting to Jeonju, North Jeolla. The final three games will take place at Jamsil Indoor Stadium in southern Seoul.
By Jason Kim [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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