When Murat Nashi Choklu of Turkiye scored the champion’s point, “captain” Kim Byung-ho burst into tears as he hugged his face before cheering. Since then, Kim Ga-young, Kim Jin-ah, Ayako Sakai of Japan, Shin Jung-ju and Nguyen Quoc Nguyen of Vietnam have all embraced and celebrated their victory. This is Hana Card, which has become the champion of the PBA Team League in pro baseball in just two seasons since its foundation.
Hana Card beat SK Rent-A-Car 4-1 in Game 7 of the ‘Welcome Savings Bank PBA Team League 2023-2024 Postseason’ final (four wins out of seven) that ended at KINTEX PBA Stadium in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province on the 27th, winning four games and three losses overall in the series. It received 100 million won in prize money.
Hana Card, which was founded in the 2022-2023 season, advanced to the postseason by winning the title in the first half of its first year. It advanced to the playoffs by defeating TS Shampoo and Puradak, but failed to advance to the final stage by losing to Blue One Resort.
This season, he advanced to the postseason by winning the fifth round of the regular league, and won the semi-playoff (SY match) and the playoff (NH Nonghyup Card match) in succession to the final stage. After a tight race of three wins and three losses until Game 6, he showed off his high degree of immersion in the game and won the first title of his excitement in Game 7.
When Hana Card was founded last season, it was considered a favorite as it had a number of star players, including Kim Ga-young, the “Queen of Billiard,” and Kim Jin-ah, “probably from No. 1.” However, due to the nature of billiards, leadership and strategies that combine them in the team league were important factors in competitiveness.
Kim Byung-ho, the captain and the oldest player, played a key role. He is the only veteran who has won a team league championship. He once won a postseason title as a member of TS Shampoo during the 2020-2021 season, the first year of the team league. He also wore his second “winning ring” at Hana Card.
Hana Card remained in the mid to low rank until the fourth round of this season’s regular league. However, the team was able to get on the last train of the postseason by flexibly changing the order given the player’s style. In the final game, the team was able to laugh in Game 7 by boldly changing the order.
“I thought that there should be a strong player at the back of the postseason as it is judged not by points but by wins and losses. (In the playoffs), I played in the men’s doubles in the first set and placed Nguyen Quoc Nguyen as the back (men’s singles in the fifth set) to hit the mark,” he said. “In the finals, I thought that SK Rent-A-Car is strong, so I thought it was important who would get the upper hand. I made a change (as before) because I thought I had little chance to go to the full set.”
Among them, Kim made brilliant sacrifices. Kim Jin-ah, who played as a key mixed doubles agent with Kim Ga-young until last season, gave way to Ayako Sakai from the second half of this season. She played just one post-season game. She could have hurt her pride, but she pledged to be a support to the common goal of winning the team. She did not hold the cue, but she worked with her teammates on the field. Kim Byung-ho and Kim Ga-young shed tears immediately after winning the championship, because of the value of Kim Jin-ah’s existence.
“I’m grateful to my teammates for letting me experience my first win. I’m grateful to the players who told me that each of them must have had a lot of stress and difficulties, but I’m thankful to the players who gave me the most support. I’m so touched.”
The winner of the Most Valuable Player award is Choklu. In addition to his “finishing shot” to confirm his win, he recorded 17 wins and 9 losses in the postseason alone, boasting a 65.4 percent winning rate.
Cho Clue, who was a top-ranked player when he was an amateur by winning two UMB World Cushion 3 Cushion Cups, declared his entry into the PBA last year. As his global ranking was pushed out of the top 20 list, Cho was recognized as an out-of-date player. However, Cho made a complete revival and marked a turning point in his career through the PBA Team League. “I didn’t display my skills in the first to third rounds, but I played along with my flow from the fifth round,” Cho said with a smile. “I’m glad that I was selected as an MVP. 마카오카지노도메인 I devoted myself to my team, and I think I achieved the result.”
Sakai, who displayed a high winning percentage in mixed doubles with Choclu in the fourth set, said, “Choclu is an incredible and special player. He always says, ‘Enjoy it, relax’ and let me concentrate on the game. I took it easy and made good results.”