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Weekly Review

KBL semi-final games are ready to begin

The schedule for the KBL semi-final has been finalized as Goyang Orion Orions and Anyang KGC defeated their opponents in the first round of KBL playoff. The Orions crushed Wonju Dongbu Promy with three consecutive wins.

Meanwhile, KGC suppressed Samsung’s comeback attempt to win the series with 3 wins and 1 loss. For the Orions, this is their first semi-final in nine years, while it is the first in three years for KGC.

Now the Orions and KGC have advanced to the semi-final, the defending KBL champions, Ulsan Mobis Phoebus and this year’s regular season champions Jeonju KCC Egis await their challenge. Orions will play against Phoebus led by head coach Yoo Jae-hak and KGC will confront Egis led by the Coach of the Year Choo Seung-kyun.

Egis are not an easy team for KGC to compete against. Not only is Egis the No.1 seed, but also the team is led by Andre Emmett, who is considered the best foreign player in the KBL.

Emmett was not considered the best choice for Egis when coach Choo picked him in the first round of the foreign players draft because of his height. However, to everyone’s surprise, he has been dominating the board throughout the season with an average 25.72 points.

In addition to Andre, Egis have Ha Seung-jin, former NBA player and the tallest player in the KBL standing at 2.21 meters (7 feet 3 inches). Ha led the league in rebounds with the average of 7.55 per game.

For Orions, containing Yang Dong-geun of Phoebus will be the most difficult assignment.

Yang, who holds the all time KBL record with four regular season MVP titles, is the anchor of the defending champions Phoebus.

Guard Yang and forward Ham Ji-hoon duo is deemed to be one of the most threatening combos in the KBL.

?Two teams from the semi-final will advance to the final to fight for the KBL championship title. The semi-final will be played as best of three out of five games. The first match of the semi-final will start today when the Egis take on the KGC at their home court in Jeonju.

Player in focus: Yang Dong-geun (Ulsan Mobis Phoebus)

Mobis head coach Yoo Jae-hak instructed Yang Dong-geun to be the leader as point guard when he switched his position from shooting guard - and that’s exactly what Yang did. The four-time regular season MVP winner led the season this year in average assist with 5.64 and playing time at 36 minutes and 28 seconds to bring defending champions Phoebus back to the playoff.

Yang felt excruciating pain on his chest in December 2015 and went to the hospital for a checkup to find out that he had broken ribs. He had difficulty lifting his right arm to shoot a basket or even with breathing. But he couldn’t step off the court as the leader of the team so he forced himself to play four games with cracked ribs.

Yang was not always the most valuable player throughout his career. In high school, he stood only at 1.68 meters (5 feet 5 inches) and was often benched. However, growing up in a poor family, Yang was more desperate and anxious than many other players around him to be a better basketball player. His determination and work ethic led Yang to be one of the best point guards in the KBL today.

“I did not expect to win the MVP award this year,” said Yang during the award ceremony after receiving the award. “I still think about each game this season. I am truly regretful that I was unable to lead the team better. This is my fourth MVP award. I am lucky to receive such an honor since what made me who I am is not me but my teammates and my coach.”

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