“It is different whether you are on the bench or not.”
Kim Sang-sik (55), coach of Anyang KGC, explained the background of including Yang Hee-jong (39), who cannot play due to injury, as follows. It was at a meeting with reporters ahead of the 6th game of the professional basketball championship match (champion match) against Seoul SK held at Anyang Indoor Gymnasium on the 5th. Manager Kim said, “It is the last time (as a player), but more than that, there is a difference depending on whether Yang Hee-jong is on the bench or not.” Yang Hee-jong is said to have a great effect just by sitting on the bench.
In fact, Yang Hee-jong sat on the bench that day despite a shoulder injury suffered in the last game 5. According to coach Kim, it is virtually impossible for him to play the rest of the game as the injury is so serious that he cannot move his shoulder. However, Yang Hee-jong took on the role of a mental support for the players even from the bench, even if he could not play in the game. Coach Kim Sang-sik also said, “It would be good for us if (Yang) Hee-jong comforted the players on the bench. He can expect other parts, even if not competitive. So he was put in the entry,” he explained.
Yang Hee-jong raised his mood by encouraging the players on the bench throughout the game. Whenever it was operation time, he told the players what he could see off the court and encouraged his juniors to do their best. The fact that the captain Yang Hee-jong kept the balance on the bench was a great help to the KGC players.
It was also Yang Hee-jong who set the mood for the 3rd quarter, when KGC was shaken. KGC struggled tightly in the first half, but their concentration dropped significantly in the third quarter, and at one point they were at a disadvantage by 15 points. If they lose just one more game, they are on the verge of losing the championship. It was a common explanation from KGC players after the game that Yang Hee-jong caught the faltering players. In the end, KGC launched a counterattack in the 4th quarter and played a role in overcoming the inferiority by 15 points.
After the game, Oh Se-geun said, “If the game doesn’t go well, problems arise. There were bad parts, such as the players blaming each other. (Yang) Hee-jong, who was on the bench, caught it for his older brother. Thanks to that, I was able to talk to the players and tell them to focus.” Byun Jun-hyung also said, “When it’s time-out, he focuses on the parts that shouldn’t be done. It encourages me even when things are not going well,” said the ‘Yang Hee-jong effect’.
Thanks to that, KGC got off the edge of the cliff and dragged the championship game to the last game 7. After the game, Yang Hee-jong hugged Byun Jun-hyeong, who stood at the center of the 4th quarter’s reversal. KGC will play the long-awaited 7th game against SK at Anyang Indoor Gymnasium at 6:00 pm on the 7th. It is the first time in 14 years that the professional basketball championship game continues until Game 7. Yang Hee-jong will also play the role of mental support on the bench instead of on the court in the 7th game. It is the last match to be played as a player 메이저놀이터.