Head coach Song Young-jin laughed at his first tactical confrontation with Chung-Ang University junior Kim Joo-sung.
Suwon KT and Wonju DB faced off in the Group A preliminary round of the 2023 MG SaeMaeGogo KBL Cup at Wolmyeong Gymnasium in Gunsan on December 12. The game marked the first official tactical battle between 토토 KT head coach Song Young-jin and DB head coach Kim Joo-sung.
Song Young-jin and Kim Joo-sung are one-year seniors at Chung-Ang University. They played together as a double post and worked together under the basket. When they played together, Chungang University reigned as the strongest team in the university stage. They won two titles in 1998, four titles in 1999, and three titles in 2000.
After their stellar collegiate careers, they entered the professional ranks as the No. 1 overall picks in the 2001 and 2002 KBL rookie drafts. In the pros, they met as enemies and competed in good-natured rivalries, but remained close friends, often meeting and sharing meals off the court.
After retiring from active duty, Song Young-jin and Kim Joo-sung took the helm of KT and DB respectively this offseason. KT is the team where Song spent his golden years as a player, while former clubman Kim Joo-sung was promoted to head coach after serving as DB’s coach and acting head coach.
KT and DB played two practice games in August and September, resulting in one win and one loss. The result was a 1-1 tie, but it doesn’t mean much because the team didn’t have any of the main members of the men’s national basketball team and no foreign players.
Head coaches Song Young-jin and Kim Joo-sung were paired in the same group in the Cup and faced off against each other. In the first half of the game, KT took the lead and made it easy for themselves, but DB fought back in the second half and the game became a close affair. In the end, KT’s Paris Bass scored a dramatic goal at the end of the fourth quarter, sending the game into overtime.
In overtime, KT had the last laugh. Dave Ildefonso hit two three-pointers, and Bass continued her scoring streak. KT, who remained focused until the end, fended off DB’s late surge and emerged the winner. The first tactical battle between the Jungang University seniors and juniors was won by Song Young-jin.
After the game, Song Young-jin said, “There was nothing special. We talked about doing well against each other. It doesn’t make sense if you don’t have a competitive spirit. As long as I play, I want to win against all the veteran coaches, not just (Kim) Joo-sung.”
Kim Joo-sung said, “There’s no point in standing in front of the bench. It’s only when we play together that we remember the old days (laughs). So it feels good to be in front of the bench together. For the team, we have to win. After we win, we’ll go in a good mood,” he laughed.