Even without Kim Sun-hyung, Oh Se-geun and Ragan… Korean basketball was strong

China wins 76-69 against Japan in first exhibition game
Dominate the battle for possession with a strong physical presence
Despite the absence of a number of key players, the Korean basketball team proved to be a force to be reckoned with.바카라

Head coach Chu Il-seung’s men’s basketball team defeated Japan 76-69 in the first game of the KB Home Bank 2023 Men’s Basketball National Team Trials at Jamsil Student Gymnasium on 22 February.

The victory was the first in a row for South Korea, which went 1-1 against Japan five years ago.

South Korea hasn’t played a competitive game in a year since the Asia Cup in July last year.

The team missed the Asian qualifiers for the FIBA World Cup 2023 in February last year to protect its players after a spate of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the squad, and was subsequently disqualified, further reducing their opportunities to play.

With Chu Il-seung-ho set to compete at the Hangzhou Asian Games in September, the Korea-Japan game was a good opportunity for him to review the tactics he has been working on and check the strength of his squad.

However, Korea was not at 100 per cent strength.

Kim Sun-hyung, Oh Se-geun and Ra Geon-ah were in the squad, but were unable to play due to injuries, while Choi Jun-yong was also unable to join the squad to recover from injury.

Despite the missed opportunity to test the tactics at full strength, basketball is not played with just five players, so Chu Il-seung used a mix of players to test different tactics.

Heo Hoon drives to the basket during the KBank 2023 Men’s National Team Basketball Trial match between South Korea and Japan at Jamsil Student Gymnasium in Songpa-gu, Seoul, on 22 July. 2023.7.22/News1 ⓒ News1 Reporter Shin Woong-soo

‘Field Marshal’ Heo Hoon spearheaded the offence, while Ha Yun-ki and Song Kyo-chang swung inside and out to take control of the game. Lee Seung-hyun was also low on goals but worked hard behind the scenes with solid physicality.

Substitutes Kim Jong-kyu and Jeon Seong-hyun also played like alto rans to secure the victory.

In particular, Jeon, who established himself as one of the KBL’s best shooters last season, showed off his greatest strength, his ability to shoot from outside, to spark the offence. For a Korean basketball team that has been plagued by a lack of specialist shooters, Jeon has been a welcome addition.

Moon Sung-gon rebounds during the KB Home Bank 2023 Men’s Basketball National Team Trial match between South Korea and Japan at Jamsil Student Gymnasium in Songpa-gu, Seoul, on 22 July. 2023.7.22/News1 ⓒ News1 By Shin Woong-soo

I was also impressed with how they outplayed Japan in terms of possessions. Korea dominated under the basket with strong physicality. Moon Sung-gon, Kim Jong-kyu, Song Kyo-chang and Lee Seung-hyun played a big role in the defence by catching the falling balls with their agile play.

The fact that they won the rebounding battle even without Oh Se-geun and Ragan-ah was a big gain. In total, South Korea grabbed 45 rebounds on the night to Japan’s 25. After the game, Japan’s head coach Tom Hovace said, “We lost the physicality battle to Korea.”

Of course, Japan was not at full strength as they were missing Yuta Watanabe (Phoenix Suns) and Rui Hachimura (LA Lakers), who are playing in the NBA, as well as Yuki Kawamura, a five-time B-League champion. However, Korea also won the game without their main players, so it was a meaningful game.

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