BNK Thumb director Park Jung-in, who has lost five straight games

“It’s said that bad things come to bad houses…”

The Busan BNK Thumbs, who have been going through a tough time as their internal management issues have become known to the outside world, have fallen into an even tougher situation as they have missed out on an impending victory. Park Jung-jeong, who had encouraged the players to “face the difficulties head-on with a strong will” before the game, was visibly shaken. The team lost a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

BNK Thumb lost 69-74 to Yongin Samsung Life in the third round of the 2023-2024 Woori WON Women’s Professional Basketball League at Sajik Gymnasium in Busan on Thursday. With the loss, BNK Thumb fell to its fifth straight defeat and dropped to 9-3 on the season. The gap to fourth-place Bucheon Hana OneQ (5-7) widened to two games.

It was a game to remember. BNK Thumb maintained a strong focus until the beginning of the fourth quarter. After finishing the first half trailing 40-41, BNK Thumb took a 10-point lead at 58-48 with 1:25 left in the third quarter thanks to back-to-back baskets from Ahn Hye-ji and Jin-an. The 10-point lead lasted until the beginning of the fourth quarter. Park Sung-jin’s paint-zone two-pointer with 8:39 left made it 64-54.

However, BNK Thumb’s concentration dropped noticeably in the middle of the fourth quarter, as Samsung Life quickly closed the gap through Bae Hye-yoon, Shin Isul, and Kim Han-bi. Eventually, a two-pointer by Kim Han-bi with 52 seconds left in the game made it 70-68, and Samsung Life never relinquished the lead to complete the five-point victory.

After the loss, head coach Park Jung-jeong said, “The players did their best. They say that bad things come to those who don’t play well, and we were no different, as one player’s form improved, another player’s form deteriorated. We tried to make up for it together, and we showed a lot of motivation, so I could see that we were getting stronger and more excited,” Park regretted.

“I said some bitter things to Sohee Lee. I wanted her to take responsibility, but she was avoiding it during the match. It must have been a big learning experience for her. Through this experience, I think all the players will be able to overcome the crisis together.” He also left a message of hope.

In particular, Park commented on the fourth quarter, which saw the team fall behind, saying, “As the game heated up and the fights increased, the players became sensitive. I think we didn’t have good mind control,” he said, pointing out the factors that contributed to the defeat.

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