Thunders rise to No. 3 but face a tough week of challenges

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Thunders rise to No. 3 but face a tough week of challenges

The Seoul Samsung Thunders are on a four-game winning streak after sweeping all three of their games last week. They began last week at No. 6 in the league table but are now sharing the No. 3 with the Anyang KGC.

The Thunders have some critical games this week. Although hosting the league No. 9 Changwon LG Sakers should not be a big problem, the two-time KBL champions face the KGC on Saturday and No. 2 Goyang Orion Orions on Sunday.

Defending champion Ulsan Mobis Phoebus went 1-2 last week and are now clinching their No. 1 spot by only one game. The Phoebus host the Wonju Dongbu Promy on Saturday.

The Promy are desperate to break their three-game losing streak. Before meeting the Phoebus and KGC over the weekend, the Gangwon team will be looking for a victory against the Seoul SK Knights on Thursday.

The Jeonju KCC Egis fell from No. 3 to No. 5 last week after two straight losses. They meet the Orions on Wednesday before playing the Sakers on Friday.

The Incheon ET Land Elephants ended their eight-game losing streak after beating the Promy last Thursday, but they soon picked up a loss against the Thunders on Saturday. They hope to regroup this week as they face the Busan KT Sonicboom tonight.

The Sonicboom won their last two games and have three games this week, all away. They meet the KGC on Thursday and the Knights on Saturday.

Player in focus: Joo Hee-jung (Samsung Thunders)

Joo Hee-jung is a KBL legend. The 38-year-old, who is in his 19th season as a pro, is the all-time KBL leader in most games played (965), assists (5,272) and steals (1,474).

Last week, he added another milestone to his career, becoming the second all-time leader in 3-pointers.

Over the weekend, Joo knocked one 3-pointer each in a game against the Incheon ET Land Elephants and Wonju Dongbu Promy to bring his record total to 1,118, making him the sole No. 2 in the league.

Knights coach Moon Kyung-eun is the all-time leader in 3-pointers at 1,699.

Joo, the KBL MVP in the 2008-09 season, is known as a man of practice. His record is a result of his consistency because while Moon only played the shooting guard position, Joo is a point guard who focuses on delivering passes.

This season with the Thunders, the former KBL Rookie of the Year, has 5.4 points, 3.6 assists, and 2.4 rebounds in his 24 minutes of playing time.

Promy center Kim to donate pension to disabled locals

Wonju Dongbu Promy veteran center Kim Joo-sung hasn’t played games for nearly two weeks due to a knee injury, but the 36-year-old is still making headlines.

On Thursday, Kim announced that he will donate his pension to three disabled people living in Wonju, Gangwon, who are in need of financial aid.

Kim won gold at the Asian Games in 2002 and 2014, and has been receiving a monthly pension from the government because of his medals.

Although the amount isn’t large, Kim, who is the only Korean basketball player to win two Asian Games golds, said it is meaningful that he can support those in need of help on a consistent basis.

Kim, a two-time KBL MVP and winner of three championship titles, is known as a generous giver.

The 205-centimeter (6-foot-8) center, who is the all-time KBL leader in blocks, donated more than 700 books to children’s centers last season.

This season, he decided to donate briquettes to poor neighborhoods. He said 50 briquettes will be collected whenever he gets a rebound, and all will be donated at the end of the season. Kim currently has 129 rebounds this season.
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