“I will burn the last flame.”
“Three-cushion veteran” Choi Sung-won, 46, who joined the Hawks with the No. 1 overall pick in the professional billiards PBA Team League draft, bit his lip as he spoke in his distinctive Gyeongsangnam-do dialect. “I came up from Busan, and I had a feeling that I was going to join the Hawks (with the No. 1 pick),” he said after confirming his move to the Hawks at the PBA Team League Draft for the 2023-2024 season held at the Press Center in Jung-gu, Seoul on Wednesday, then smiled and said, “It feels good. I’ll try my best to do well this year.”
The PBA Team League has a nine-team format for the new season, with Hiwon Resorts taking over the former TS Shampoo-Fried Chicken, and building materials company Eswai joining as a “newcomer. With each team having previously designated protected players and organized their releases, the order of the draft picks was from the team with the fewest protected players to the top rounds. Rounds 1-3 are reserved for the lowest-ranked team in the previous season’s regular season, and last season’s lowest-ranked team (8th), the Huons (3 protected players), enjoyed the first round pick. Choi Sung-won, Lee Chung-bok, Semi Seguiner, and Murat Nasi Chokloo (over Turkkiye) were initially considered the “big four,” but the Huons chose Choi Sung-won, a domestic leader in a team league where teamwork is important, and quickly became the favorite to win the championship by adding Seguiner in the second round.
It was strategic. It perfectly capitalized on the situation of Hiwon Resort (No. 2) and Welcome Savings Bank (No. 3), who had the first round pick. Hiwon Resort needed a domestic leader as they retooled their team, so they selected Lee Chung-bok. Welcome Savings Bank couldn’t afford another foreigner as they already had two foreign players, Frederick Kudrong and Birole Wimaz, on reserve. They selected Kim Lim-kwon. The Huons then grabbed Seguiner with the first pick of the second round, as planned.
Choi Sung-won is a star player who became the first Korean player to win a world championship at the 2014 Seoul 3-Cushion World Championship. In 2017, he teamed up with Kim Jae-geun (Crown Hae-tae) to lead Korea to its first World Team 3 Cushion Championship title. Known for his “magic shot,” Seiginer has won seven World Cup titles in his career and reached the top of the World Championship podium in 2003. He has also worked as an actor in his home country.
It’s historic that Choi and Seiginer, who often competed against each other on the UMB stage, including at the World Championships and World Cups, are teaming up in the PBA Team League. “I didn’t expect (Seiginer to join),” Choi said, “but we’ve known each other since our UMB days, so (synergy) shouldn’t be a problem.”
In addition to Choi and Seiginer, the Hawks also selected Jeon Ae-lin in the third round. In addition, Javier Palazon, Kim Bong-cheol, and Kim Se-yeon were designated as reserves, completing the team’s roster for the new season.토토사이트
Choi is looking forward to the season after a strong showing in the team league as well as on the individual tour. He said, “The purpose of coming to the PBA is to burn the last flame. I want to show that I’m strong in every match,” he said. “I lacked self-motivation, my body was tired and I wasn’t interested in the game. The expectations of the fans were also high, and if I didn’t win, I would be told, ‘What’s wrong with you? I wanted to try something new in the PBA,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, Han Ji-eun, the former No. 1 ranked player in the Ama Women’s Rankings, who joined Eswai as a priority pick, said, “I will take responsibility and contribute to the team’s good performance.” “I’m training with that in mind,” she said, noting that other top players like Kim Jin-ah and Kim Min-ah struggled in their professional debuts. I’m greedy to win quickly, but I want to win (on the individual tour) later this year,” she said.