AFTER splitting its games against powerhouse teams China and Iran, South Korea is right where it wants to be as the team looks to end a 16-year title drought in the Fiba-Asia championshps, according to naturalized player Lee Seung Jun.
Lee, formerly Eric Sandrin, said beating the dreaded Chinese and losing a close, physical match to the Iranians gives the Koreans the confidence they need as the team goes deeper in the tournament it last won in 1997 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“We’ll try to win the Asian championships,” said Lee after the Koreans' 80-58 win over Malaysia on Saturday which enabled them to finish with a 2-1 win-loss record in Group C, otherwise known as the 'Group of Death.'
“I think it’s (first two games) good for us. We played probably the top two teams in the first round so we have a lot of confidence going into the elimination round. It’s good for our confidence,” he added.
The 6-foot-8 Lee may not be the scorer that he was during his prime, but his solid defense has definitely helped the Koreans' campaign. Against Malaysia, he finished with 18 points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes.
“We’re preparing for the next games because they (other teams) are expected to play as hard like us,” added the well-traveled Korean big man.