Korean ace out of commission
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - September 19, 2014 - 12:00am

The sweet-shooting Korea guard Kim Min Goo, who torched the Philippines for 27 points at the FIBA Asia Championships last year, won’t play in Incheon because of injuries suffered in a car accident.

Korean basketball magazine Jumpball editor Son Dae Bum said recently Kim was driving under the influence of alcohol when he rammed a wall in his car in Seoul last June. He was alone in the vehicle. Son said Kim will be out of commission for at least a year to recover from head and hip injuries. He will sit out the Asian Games.

Kim, 23, was named to the mythical first team in the two-position at the FIBA Asia Championships last year, averaging 12.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists in nine games. He ranked No. 1 in three-point conversions with 25. Against the Philippines, Kim sank 5-of-11 triples and finished with 9-of-15 field goals but couldn’t lead Korea to the finals. Gilas won, 86-79, in the semifinals.

Bum said basketball is a poor third in national popularity to soccer and baseball. Without Kim, the outlook is bleak for South Korea to capture the gold medal at the Asian Games. Bum said the two most popular Korean players are Cho Sung Min and Eric Sandrin, also known as Lee Seung Jun. Sandrin, 36, is an American-Korean who plays in the Korean Basketball League (KBL) with his brother Daniel. Sandrin is not in the Korean lineup for Incheon as Bum said he is nursing an injury. Anchoring the middle is 34-year-old veteran Kim Joo Sung who may be retiring from international competitions after the Asian Games.

Bum said Korean basketball fans are aware of developments in the PBA. He is a fan of Asi Taulava and Jimmy Alapag. A PBA player whom Bum found out is making waves is Paul Lee. Hur Jae played until he was 43, said Bum, and Taulava, 41, will likely play longer than the Korean legend. Bum said another Korean legend Shin Dong Pa is revered by fans as a gentleman sportsman.

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Bum said Korean sharpshooter Lee Sang Min, 41, will make debut as a coach for Samsung in the KBL this season. It was Lee who sank the triple that quashed the Philippines’ hopes to advance to the finals at the Asian Games in Busan in 2002. The buzzer-beating trey lifted Korea to a 69-68 win.

Bum said Korean fans aren’t expecting much from the national team in Incheon. “The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) refused to allow our new naturalized player Aaron Haynes to play because of failure to comply with the three-year residency rule,” he said. “So we brought back Moon Tae Jin (Cameron Stevenson) who’s already 38.” Haynes, 33, played at Boise State in the US NCAA then saw action in Finland, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Qatar and finally Korea starting in 2009-10. Last season, the 6-7 Haynes averaged 17.7 points on 51.8 percent field goal shooting with the Seoul squad.

Bum said Korea’s results at the recent FIBA World Cup in Spain were disastrous. Korea lost five of five games and the lowest margin of defeat was 11 against Angola. Korea bowed to Australia by 34, Lithuania by 30, Slovenia by 27 and Mexico by 16.

Bum said Korean fans were disappointed that Andray Blatche was not permitted to play for the Philippines on the same basis of rejection as Haynes. He knew about FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann’s letter to OCA pointing out that Blatche is eligible under FIBA rules but it fell on deaf ears. Blatche would’ve installed the Philippines a hot favorite to run away with the gold.

Korea is in Group D with Jordan and the second placer of the qualifying round in Group A consisting of Mongolia, Hong Kong, Kuwait and Maldives. Likely to finish second in Group A is Kuwait who will advance to play Korea and Jordan in the next round. The top two placers move on to play in another round with teams from three other groups. The top two of each group then plays in the knockout quarterfinals.

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There are 16 teams participating in basketball at the Asian Games with eight teams awarded byes – Iran, the Philippines, South Korea, Chinese-Taipei, China, Jordan, Japan and Qatar. The Philippines plays the topnotcher of the qualifying Group B to open its campaign on Sept. 23. The Group B topnotcher will be Saudi Arabia or Kazakhstan or Palestine or India. Then, the Philippines takes on Iran on Sept. 25. If the Philippines advances, its first game is scheduled on Sept. 26 then Sept. 27 and 28. The top two finishers of both groups of four move on to the knockout semifinals on Oct. 1 and the survivors battle it out for the gold medal on Oct. 3.

Meanwhile, SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan quashed speculation that OCA would disqualify Marcus Douthit who is taking over from Blatche as Gilas’ naturalized player. MVP said he spoke with SBP consultant Moying Martelino who affirmed Douthit’s eligibility.

“Marcus was cleared by the OCA in their letter sent to us last Sept. 8 and by the Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee during the Delegates Registration Meeting (DRM) last Sept. 11,” said MVP. “We have fully complied with all procedures and requirements making Marcus eligible and part of a 12-man roster. We will go to battle with Marcus.”

MVP named the final 12 of the national team playing in Incheon – Douthit, Jared Dillinger, Alapag, L. A. Tenorio, Lee, Jeff Chan, Gary David, Gabe Norwood, Ranidel de Ocampo, Japeth Aguilar, JuneMar Fajardo and Marc Pingris.

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