Seoul SK Knights thrash New Taipei Kings to lock in EASL semifinal spot

The Seoul SK Knights' Jameel Warney, left, in action during an East Asia Super League game against New Taipei Kings at Jamsil Student’s Gymnasium in southern Seoul in a photo shared on the Knights' official Instagram account on Wednesday. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

The Seoul SK Knights thrashed New Taipei Kings 89-57 in an East Asia Super League (EASL) group stage game on Wednesday, locking in a place in the semifinals with one game left to go.   Wednesday’s game held at Jamsil Student’s Gymnasium in southern Seoul was the second time the Knights had faced the Kings in the group stage, having previously lost to the Taiwanese side 90-72 in the group stage in November last year.   Last season’s EASL runners-up Knights got their revenge this time with a dominant performance, winning the first quarter 24-16, second quarter 41-37, third quarter 64-52, before sealing a 89-57 victory.   The Knights’ Jameel Warney was the hero of the night, scoring 34 points alone as the top scorer of the game.   Thanks to Wednesday’s huge win, the Knights could reach the semifinals as Group B winners. Since the head-to-head results between current Group B runners-up Knights and leaders Kings are the same — one win and one loss — and the Knights edge the Kings out in head-to-head point difference, the Seoul side could snatch the frontrunner position if they win the last group stage game against the Meralco Bolts from the Philippines on Feb. 7.  
Regardless of whether they finish first or second, the Knights are guaranteed to join fellow KBL team and defending champions Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters in the semifinals. The Red Boosters locked in a Group A runner-up finish last month with one game left to play.   This season may even see an all-Korean final for the second time in a row.   Both Anyang KGC, now called the Red Boosters, and the Knights competed in the inaugural EASL last season and met in the final, with the then-KGC claiming victory.  Last season’s group stage games had an unusual round-robin format, however, as every team in each group only played two games rather than playing at least one game with each other.  All EASL games last season were also held in Japan for reasons related to the Covid-19 pandemic, officials said at the time. This season’s group stage runs with an ordinary round-robin system where eight teams, divided in Groups A and B, play games home and away.   The Knights will play the last EASL group stage game against Meralco Bolts on Feb. 7 at home, the same time the Red Boosters face Taipei Fubon Braves in Taiwan.   The EASL semifinals between the Red Boosters, Knights, Chiba Jets from Japan and Kings will then take place in the Philippines on March 8, before the third-place game and final on 온라인카지노 March 10.

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