“I want to play in my last All-Star game before I go to the army.” These are the words of Changwon LG’s Yang Hong-seok (195 cm, F).
In their second meeting of the season against Busan KCC of the 2023-2024 Korean Basketball Organization at Changwon Gymnasium on Sunday, LG broke open a close game to win 85-81. After taking the lead in the third quarter, LG maintained its focus until the end to win its fourth straight game and seventh straight at home.
LG, which set a record of eight second-round wins in 23 seasons, collected its 13th win in 13 games and moved into sole possession of second place, two games behind first-place Wonju DB.
In the game, Yang Hong-seok was on the court for 34 minutes and 43 seconds, finishing with 22 points, seven rebounds, and two assists. His offense was somewhat subdued throughout the first half, but he scored 11 points in the third quarter alone to set the tone for the team.
After the game, Yang Hong-seok reflected on the game, saying, “We’ve had a lot of games where we’ve won by a lot of points, but (unlike previous games) today was a close game, and I felt like the team had the strength to get over the hump. In the fourth quarter, (Yoo) Ki-sang and (Jung) Hee-jae did a great job in clutch situations, and I think that’s why we were able to win.”
Yang Hong-seok, who moved to LG ahead of the season, has been on a roll lately, helping the team’s rise.
“I had a (calf) injury, and I wasn’t able to integrate into the team’s system due to my time away from the national team,” said Yang, who has scored more than 20 points in two consecutive games and is showing off a different game compared to the beginning of the season. “Now, I feel like we’re getting more and more in sync as we play. As time went on, we got to know each other and what each other wanted, and I think (our performance) came naturally.”
As he tries to integrate into a new environment and a new team, Yang is also grateful to Jung Hee-jae.
“(Assem) Maray and (Jung) Heejae helped me a lot to adapt. Especially Heejae, who plays the same position. He sacrifices for the team even though there are plays he can do well. He helps me a lot whenever I’m having a bad game, and he’s very supportive. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be able to perform as well as I do now.”
LG’s next opponent is Yang Hong-seok’s hometown team KT. LG has lost both of their previous meetings with KT this season.
In response, he said, “It’s not because of KT, but they’re the team we have to beat. The only team we haven’t beaten yet is KT, and from the third round onwards, we want to beat all the teams we can beat like in the second round. We’ve played against them twice, and they’re solid, but we’re going to try to ignore the fact that they’re our hometown team as much as possible, and if we play naturally, I think the day will come when we’ll have the upper hand,” he said.
With the KBL All-Star voting currently underway, nominee Yang Hong-seok said, “I really want to go (to the All-Star Game) because it’s my last one before I go to the army, and I’m thankful that I’m in the top spot right now. If I were to be greedy, I would like all five members of my team to go to the All-Star Game. I’d like to share the tickets with Lee Kwan-hee, Lee Jae-do, Marei, and Yoo Yoo-sang, the field commander, and go together,” he said as he walked out of the stadium.