KBA tips-off 2015 Asia-Pacific University Basketball Challenge

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The Korean Basketball Association along with its corporate sponsor KCC tipped off the 2015 Asia Pacific University Challenge on Thursday with the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees taking on the Universiade Representatives of Japan. The challenge. which takes place in Seoul, South Korea from June 25th to June 30th at Jamsil Arena, is a way to “improve the athletic performances of players from the Asia-Pacific region, promote friendly ties between the participating countries, and make contributions to relieve international tensions while sustaining peace in the Eastern Asia region,” according to KCC C.E.O. Mong-Ik Chung.

The Asia-Pacific University Basketball Challenge was first introduced in 2014 and has seen over 13 different countries participate in South Korea. The challenge’s main purpose is to enhance relations between Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world through basketball. For Ottawa University head coach James Derouin, it’s an opportunity for his players to experience a different culture as a team.  it’s a chance of a lifetime to visit another part of the world as a team. “The chance to visit another part of the world as a team and participate in this tournament with high quality international teams is a life experience for all of these guys,” says Derouin.

Ottawa University would fall to Japan’s all-university team in the opening match by a final score of 72-68. Japan was slow to start the game, but once they found their rhythm, they couldn’t be stopped from beyond the arc. They would finish the game shooting 35 percent from the three-point line compared to Ottawa University’s 23 percent.

“We came into this tournament knowing that we would be missing our two best players, so this was an opportunity for us to put different guys in new roles, and see how they react. I knew that it would be challenging. I knew there were going to be some struggles. There were some positives, but not enough to continue the success that we’ve had,” says Derouin.

University of Ottawa head coach James Derouin (left) and Gee-Gee's forward Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue (right)

University of Ottawa head coach James Derouin (left) and Gee-Gee’s forward Gabriel Gonthier-Dubue (right)

The University of Ottawa is without the presence of their starting backcourt, Johnny Berhanemeskel and Caleb Agada, who are both in Kansas with the all-Canadian university team gearing up for next week’s 2015 Gwangju Universiades.

Japan’s Yudai Baba led all scorers with 21 points while Ottawa’s Gabriel Gonthier Dubue finished with 18 points. After the game, Dubue credited Japan’s speed but said he wasn’t impressed with his team’s performance. “Japan had a lot of good shooters. I feel like it was a tough game to play. We should have been able to keep up with them,” said Gonthier-Dubue.

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In the second game of the day, Korea A took on Korea B. The difference between the two teams is stated in the name, one is Korea’s “A” team and the other is Korea’s “B” team. The “A” team is the team that will be representing South Korea at the 2015 Gwangju Universiades while the “B” team is a team with up and coming Korean university ballers.

Korea B gave Korea A a good first half of basketball, but in the second half Korea A was just too strong, too fast, and too good. The final score score was Korea A 98, Korea B 67. Despite his team losing, Min Su Seo of Korea B led all scorers with 19 points. Four of Korea A’s five starters finished in double figures. An interesting tale of this game featured two brothers going head to head. Ung Heo of Korea A was matched up against his younger brother Hoon Heo as they played in front a proud father and Korean basketball legend Hur Jae.

Here is a schedule of the remaining games:

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Nick Bedard (@bedardnick) is the editor-in-chief of Basketballbuddha.com.

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