INCOMING Barangay Ginebra Asian reinforcement Jiwan Kim sought the advice of revered basketball legend Shin Dong Pa just before flying to Manila to become the first Korean to serve as import in the PBA Governors Cup.
“I was able to get to talk to Shin Dong Pa before coming to the Philippines. He made comments on what I should do here (in the PBA) and it helped me a lot,” Kim told Spin.ph on Tuesday through his interpreter and Incheon ET Land chief of international affairs Young Bae Byun.
Shin was Korea’s top gunner - and one of Asia's deadliest gunners - during the sixties, having waging memorable hardcourt battles with Filipino legends like Narciso Bernardo, Bogs Adornado, Robert Jaworski, Mon Fernandez, Tembong Melencio, and Ed Ocampo during his heyday.
The great Shin was actually in the country last year when the LG Sakers played an exhibition match against Ginebra.
With Shin’s guidance and words of wisdom, Kim said he’s ready to play the physical brand of basketball the PBA has become known for.
“This league is also physical so I have to play defense also and put a lot of passion for the game,” added Kim, who is coming in to replace Mongolian Sanchir Tungalag.
A standout from Yonsei University, the heralded two guard averaged 5.1 points and 1.9 rebounds for the Elephants in the Korean Basketball League.
Kim said Ginebra’s local players helped him go through the team’s system in his first day of practice on Tuesday.
“It was the first practice. But it wasn’t like there was really a lot of confusion. I just try to get used to how the team works, but it’s a good practice,” said Kim, who was greeted with birthday wishes by his new Ginebra teammates as he turned 26 on Tuesday.
Ginebra coach Frankie Lim said with Kim’s addition, the Gin Kings have added a reliable outside gunner who can help unclog the painted area for fit-again big men Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar.
“We have a new guy, the Korean,” said Lim.
“I think he’s good, who’s got quickness, shooting and meron na kaming another weapon pagdating sa offense,” explained the outspoken Ginebra coach, whose team is coming off a 100-85 defeat to sister team San Miguel Beer on Sunday.
“Tinitingnan ko siya (Kim) kanina, maayos naman. He’s not a great defender but he’s okay and can follow the system,” he added.