‘Runner-up tears to growth’: SK’s Hee-Cheol Jeon makes ambitious comeback bid

In his first year as head coach, Jeon Hee-chul, 50, shed tears of emotion after guiding SK to its first ever unified championship, but in his second year, he shed tears after narrowly missing out on the title last season.

온라인바카라After losing the championship to Ginseng Corporation in an overtime thriller in the seventh game of the championship final, Jeon was seen warmly consoling his physically and emotionally exhausted players.

However, when he moved to the press conference room, he burst into tears.

“All the players suffered so much. As a coach, I can’t say anything more,” he said, shaking his head, “I feel very sorry for the players.”

“The tears of the second year should be used as a foundation for growth,” says third-year coach Jeon Hee-chul

In his third year as head coach, Jeon has become more determined ahead of the new season.

“I think the tears I shed in the second year meant more to me,” he said when we recently met at SK’s Gangneung training ground.

“I made mistakes, and I want to make sure I don’t repeat the mistakes I made in the second year. The good things seem to be forgotten quickly. I try to take the pain with me for the rest of my life and use it as a basis for making good judgements.”

Even in his third year as head coach, Jeon said he still finds the job challenging.

“Being a head coach, you always have to work hard and try to fill in the gaps. I’m happy if my decisions turn out well, but I think the process of making decisions is particularly difficult. Even now, in my third year, it’s difficult. I still feel like I’m not good enough, and I still have a lot to learn,” he said humbly.

■ The reason for the ‘Game 6, Game 3, OT’…SK’s ‘speed basketball’ will be stronger this year!

Despite the outcome, the most regrettable moment for the former coach was the third quarter of Game 6.

With a 3-2 lead over the Ginseng Corporation after five games, SK pulled away to a 15-point lead in the third quarter of Game 6 and seemed to be on the verge of winning the title for the second consecutive season.

Calling game time, Jeon chose to take a breather by subbing out three players.

It was a realistic choice, given the fatigue that SK players had accumulated over the remaining four quarters and the entirety of the quarter-final playoffs and championship game.

However, Ginseng Corporation, who had the time to regroup, pulled off a deceptive upset, and Game 7 also ended in a Ginseng Corporation victory.

“It was my mistake,” Jeon said at the time of the game, but he revealed the reason for his decision.

“At that time, I could see that the players were struggling too much. I think a lot of people misunderstand. “I think a lot of people think, ‘I called time because we had a big lead (15 points) and I wanted to make them comfortable,’ but that’s not the case. Three players were signalling to me at the time, and I realised that if I didn’t change all the players right away, I would lose a close win, so I called time, which turned out to be a mistake,” he explained.

Oh Se-geun (left) and head coach Jeon Hee-cheol (right) in SK uniforms

With the addition of veteran Oh Se-geun in the free agency market, SK is a strong favourite to win the title in the upcoming season.

Last season’s regular season MVP Kim Sun-hyung is back, and Ahn Young-joon, who was a key part of the 2021-22 team’s title triumph, will be back from military service.

Jeon emphasised that the team will be looking to slow down SK’s trademark fast-paced basketball this season.

“There is a concern that we will slow down, but I don’t think we will change our colour just because we have one or two new players. Oh Se-geun also said that he runs hard and well. We want to keep our colour scheme and add his strengths in set offence,” he said.

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