“I will use it unconditionally”

The day of Park Moo-bin’s national team debut, “Perfect Guy,” has dawned.

The Korean national basketball team, led by head coach Ahn Joon-ho, will play the second round of the FIBA Jeddah Asia Cup 2025 qualifying home game against Thailand at Wonju Gymnasium on the 25th.

South Korea lost 71-85 in an away match against Australia on the 22nd. It was a 14-point loss, but the contents of the match were even. South Korea performed so well that it pressured Australia, the fourth-ranked team in FIBA, until the middle of the fourth quarter. It was the moment when the tiger, which slipped to the mid-ranked position in Asia, rose again.

However, the team has had significant aftereffects. For now, away games in Australia itself were daunting. As the team already played more than half of the 2023-24 season, it displayed good performance but showed significant physical deterioration. In addition, it consumed more physical strength than expected as it played against Australia, which boasts superior physical strength.

Long journey times have hampered her as well. It took nearly 24 hours to arrive at her accommodation in Australia. After the match against Australia, she left early the next morning, moved all day long, and arrived in Wonju.

Some players are injured. Lee suffered a thigh contusion in the match against Australia. Kim Jong-kyu is not in normal condition due to knee problems. It is uncertain whether the two players will play in the match against Thailand. “We will make a judgment based on the situation,” coach Ahn Jun-ho said.

One card South Korea did not take out in the match against Australia. It is Park Moo-bin. He made the A-team roster for the first time after the U18 and Universiade.

“At the match against Australia, I made a decision. My physical condition is not a problem. Coach Ahn Jun-ho failed to find the right time to utilize Park Moo-bin’s card at the match against Australia, which was a series of close matches. He could have used extra strength to gain experience at the end of the match, but he had a different opinion.

In a telephone interview with MK Sports, Ahn Jun-ho said, “We could not include Park at a time when the seesaw game was played until the middle of the fourth quarter. It is quite regrettable. However, Park could not be included at the last minute or two when the game was almost over. As a coach, I don’t think it is polite to treat players,” adding, “I will definitely use Park in the match against Thailand. With it unclear whether Lee Jung-hyun will play or not, Park will deploy him.”

For Park Moo-bin, the match against Thailand in Wonju is a game of great significance. A native of Wonju, he will play his first A-team match in his hometown. Motivation will be extraordinary. Also, Byun Jun-hyung, who will be a backcourt partner, is also from Wonju. Two basketball stars born in Wonju, the “basketball city,” will be responsible for the advancement of Korea.

Thailand does not have ace Tyler Lamb in this qualifying round. However, there are outstanding advanced resources such as Frederic Risch and Nakhon Jaisansak. Moses Morgan, Chanathip Zakrawan and others are the players South Korea should be most wary of.

If Park Moo-bin is competitive against Rishi and Jaisak, he will have an opportunity to become a built-in national team player beyond simple “experience.” It is an important moment for him to take care of his international experience, who is already competing with top guards in the KBL.

FIBA did not forget Park’s name among the U24 players who participated in the preliminary round. Park is highly anticipated as he made a star lineup including Iran’s young ace Muhammad Amini, future NBA leaguer Yang Hansen, Japan’s next-generation star Yuto Kawashima, Australia and the Philippines’ future Rocco Zikarski and Kai Soto.

Park Moo-bin is paying attention not only to KBL but also to FIBA. How will his debut come to an end? Considering his strong capacity at Hyundai Mobis in Ulsan, it would be good to watch the match against Thailand.

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