Triple Tower standing small in FinalsWith the series tied at 2-2, the Wonju Dongbu Promy and Anyang Korea Ginseng Corporation will clash again to get one step closer to the Korean Basketball League championship trophy.
The two teams have fought closely in this best-of-seven series. The Promy won Game 1 (80-75) and Game 3 (80-79), while the No. 2 seed KGC responded twice with wins in Game 2 (74-71) and Game 4 (73-70). Game 5 will tip off at 7 p.m. tonight at Anyang Gymnasium in Gyeonggi.
The final series has so far veered in the opposite direction expected by many pundits, whose extrapolations were based on historic regular season statistics.
The Promy set records for the most wins (44), longest winning streak (16) and highest winning percentage (0.815) in a regular season, and were expected to easily handle KGC. The No. 1 seed team had also beaten KGC five times in the 2011-12 season, losing only once.
However, so far the Finals series has been one of the tightest in KBL history, with margins of victory well below six points each game. And both teams are putting points on the board when it matters most.
The two were the top defensive teams this season. The Promy allowed only 67.9 points per game, while KGC gave up 70.1. In their six encounters in the regular season, neither team scored more than 70 points. But both have surpassed that mark in each Finals game.
KGC can thank its young players’ energy and stamina for the impressive response wins.
The series is packed in tightly, with four games played over just five days. KGC, with its fast-paced basketball and full-court press on defense, has matched up well against a slower, veteran Wonju side.
“We just need to run more and more,” KGC coach Lee Sang-beom said. “Whether we score or not, we just have to push. If we allow time for Dongbu to organize its defense, we are in trouble.”
KGC’s rookie forward Oh Se-keun, who poured on 23 points in Game 4 to lead his team to victory, also said the team’s fast-paced basketball has been so far working well against the Promy.
“Because we make fast transitions, I think Rod Benson and Kim Joo-sung seem to be tired,” Oh said. “I think we are running 1.5 times more than we did in the regular season.”
The Promy hope forward Yoon Ho-young, one of the core members of its “Triple Tower,” steps up against KGC’s Yang Hee-jong.
While Yang is averaging 12.3 points and five rebounds in the Finals - both better than his regular season numbers - Yoon is struggling to contribute offensively.
The 28-year-old is averaging only 8.8 points this series, while his field goal percentage plunged to 41.9. In the regular season, Yoon had 12 points per game with a field goal percentage of 50.7. He had only two points in Game 4.
Promy coach Kang Dong-hee insisted that the team can still seal the deal, with his team coming off a two-day rest heading into Game 5 tonight and playing Games 6 and 7 at Chiak Gymnasium in Wonju, Gangwon.
By Joo Kyung-don [firstname.lastname@example.org]