The women’s national basketball team players who will participate in the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) in September will head to China with the valuable experience gained from the Park Shin-ja Cup.
The ‘2023 Woori Bank Park Shin-ja Cup’, which ended at the Cheongju Gymnasium in North Chungcheong Province on the 3rd, ended with loud applause from the players and coaches on site as well as basketball people. The Park Shin-ja Cup, named after women’s basketball legend Park Shin-ja, was expanded into an international competition this year, with 10 teams from four countries (Korea, Japan, Australia, and the Philippines) participating. While the competition had previously focused on nurturing coaches as well as prospects, this competition was held on a different level.
In particular, the 1st and 2nd ranked teams in Japan’s WJBL, Eneos Sunflowers and Toyota Antelopes, as well as Australia’s mid-ranking team, Bendigo Spirit, and the Philippines national team participated, engaging in a fierce battle with 6 WKBL teams. The final winning team was Toyota, which defeated Asan Woori Bank.
The Park Shin-ja Cup was held under a tight schedule with matches held every day for 9 days. However, after the game, the expressions on the faces of both players and coaches were bright. Everyone said in unison, “It was a valuable experience.” In particular, key members of the national team, Ji-Hyun Park (23, Woori Bank) and Ji-Soo Park (24, Cheongju KB Stars), who will play for Hangzhou AG in September, attracted attention by showing off their improved performance.
Park Ji-hyun played virtually full time until the final. This is because there were a series of injuries among the Woori Bank players right before the tournament. He said, “It is a schedule that I have fully experienced while playing professionally and for the national team. Rather, he trusted the experience he had accumulated over the years. “He focused on what I needed to do even though it was a difficult situation,” he explained.
Park Ji-hyun played an average of 39 minutes and 7 seconds per game in the Park Shin-ja Cup, averaging 23 points (1st place), 9.8 rebounds (1st place), 3.5 assists, 3.2 steals (1st place), and a field goal success rate of 47.3%. After the runner-up finish, Woori Bank coach Wi Sang-woo praised Park Ji-hyun, calling her “a player who will become the center of women’s basketball.”
Park Ji-soo also showed off his performance as the star of the Cheongju Gymnasium, averaging 18 points (4th place), 7.2 rebounds, 2.2 blocks (1st place), and a field goal success rate of 59.5% in 6 games. In particular, he hit all three 3-point shots during the competition and showed off his new weapon. It was not a shot thrown in the shot clock, but a clean 3-pointer following the promised pick-and-pop. He said, “What I felt during international competitions is that all players with my height (1m93cm) are good at 3 points. He expressed his will to improve further, saying, “It’s not just that they are good, there are many outstanding players.”
The 3rd and 4th place ranking match of the ‘2023 Woori Bank Park Shin-ja Cup’ between Eneos Sunflowers and Cheongju KB Stars was held at Cheongju Gymnasium in North Chungcheong Province on the 3rd. Park Ji-soo is stepping on the court as a substitute. Photo = Provided by WKBL
The reason why the players’ outstanding performance was able to attract attention is because the overseas teams did their ‘best’ in this competition. A manager of a WKBL club said, “We often interact with Japan, but the top teams in the league rarely schedule schedules with us. However, in the Park Shin-ja Cup, which has raised its status as an international competition, they were able to clash with a top team. Regardless of which overseas team, everyone did their best. “It was a great learning experience not only for the players but also for the coaches.”
KBSN sports commentators Kim Eun-hye and Ahn Deok-soo, who broadcast the Park Shin-ja Cup, also agreed, saying, “It was a very great competition.”
First, commentator Kim Eun-hye said, “Recently, at a time when Japan was moving toward becoming a powerhouse in women’s basketball, we seemed to be somewhat shrinking. However, in this competition, I saw the players doing their best to face the challenge head-on. “It was an opportunity for us to gain confidence again.”
Commentator Ahn Deok-soo said, “I wonder why it was only now that the tournament was able to be held on such a large scale,” and added, “The players showed great attitude on the court. “If there are more international games like this, it will be a great help not only to the national team but also to the players in the WKBL,” he said.안전놀이터
The women’s basketball team performed poorly in the 2023 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup, which ended in July. The women’s basketball team led by coach Jeong Seon-min ranked 5th in the competition and failed to advance to the final qualifying round for the Paris Olympics. If the upcoming Hangzhou AG ends, there will be no international competition until the 2026 Women’s Basketball World Cup. The Hangzhou tournament is virtually the last opportunity for women’s basketball, which has recently been in a slump, to make up for its slump.
The two commentators diagnosed that “all players need to play with a sense of crisis.” Commentator Ahn Deok-soo said, “The passion and attitude the national team players showed at the Park Shin-ja Cup definitely deserved applause. “If we can show this momentum on the Hangzhou court, we can stand up as a powerful player in Asia,” he said emphatically.
The final match of the ‘2023 Woori Bank Park Shin-ja Cup’ between Asan Woori Bank and Toyota Antelopes was held at Cheongju Gymnasium in North Chungcheong Province on the 3rd. Just before the game, First Lady Park Shin-ja is taking a commemorative photo with the championship trophy. Photo = Provided by WKBL
Mrs. Park Shin-ja, who visited the competition for the first time in eight years, emphasized through WKBL at the time, “I don’t think there is success without the earnest desire to sacrifice one’s life to do it.” In fact, the players showed their passion on the court and raised the status of the competition. The players’ efforts also translated into viewership ratings. According to data released by WKBL on the 14th, the total number of online viewers for this Park Shin-ja Cup was 333,984, a 248% increase compared to the previous year.
The eyes of the players who gained valuable experience in the Park Shin-ja Cup are turned to Hangzhou AG. Meanwhile, Jeong Seon-min is in Group C and will clash with North Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. Jeong Seon-min’s first match will be against North Korea at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center gymnasium on the 29th.