The Huon’s Healthcare Legends of the PBA TeamLeague have both “Korea’s Three-Cushion Man” Choi Sung-won and “Mr. Magic” Semi Saginer. The team rose from the bottom of the regular season to become a powerhouse last season.
안전놀이터 The Professional Billiards Association (PBA) held the 2023 PBA Team League Draft at the Korea Press Center in Jung-gu, Seoul, on the 23rd and named players for the season for each team.
The Hawks used their first-round pick, which they earned by placing only Javier Palazon (Spain), Kim Bong-cheol, and Kim Se-yeon on protection in this draft, to select “Korean 3-cushion signature” Choi Sung-won (46).
The first pick in the second round was used to select “Mr. Magic” Semi Seiginer (TURKIYE-58). They then selected Jeon Ae-lin in the third round to round out their roster.
Haiwon Resort, who had the second pick in the first round, selected Lee Chung-bok (49) and then used the second and third rounds to land the Vietnamese duo of Nguyen Duc Anh Chien (39) and Nguyen Phung Linh (29).
Welcome Savings Bank, which started with Frederic Coudron (BEL), Birole Wimaz (TUR) and Kim Ye-eun as protected players in the first round, added Kim Lim-kwon (42) in the second round, Lee Sang-dae (42) in the third round, Higashiuchi Natsumi (JPN-41) in the fourth round and Choi Hye-mi (28) to complete the seven-player roster.
SK Rent-a-Car, which designated all but Lee Woo-kyung as protected players, finished the draft without any additional additions, while Crown Hae-Tae selected Oh Tae-Jun (30, 2nd-3rd round) and Kim Tae-Kwan (25, 3rd-3rd round) to add some domestic ‘young blood’.
Hanacard added ‘tourniquet powerhouse’ Murat Nasi Choklu (48 – 2nd round, 4th place) and ‘Japanese 3-cushion powerhouse’ Ayako Sakai (JPN – 46) to become the ‘strongest female team’ alongside Kim Ga-young and Kim Jin-ah. In Round 3, upstart Eswai selected Lee Woo-kyung (25) to join Han Ji-eun and Han Seul-ki.
In the fourth round, Uhm Sang-pil (Blue One Resort) and Kim Byung-ho (Hana Card), who struggled last season, returned to their parent teams with the second and fourth picks, respectively, while Welcome Savings Bank, which had the first pick, kept Choi Hye-mi.
The NHL Card used the third pick on last season’s PBA Rookie of the Year Antonio Montes (Spain-29). Upstart Eswai added Zheng Aing Vu (Vietnam-43).
For the first three rounds of the PBA Team League Draft, the team with the fewest protected players had priority, followed by the lowest ranked team in the previous season’s regular season. In Round 4, the top teams from the previous season’s regular season were given priority. New teams had the last pick in each round.
Choi Sung-won, who was selected with the first overall pick in the draft, said at a press conference after the draft event, “We don’t have to worry about our poor performance last season. I chose to go pro to show that I am still strong. I will show you something great.”
Han Ji-eun, who was selected by the new club SY Bazar, said, “I’m worried about the way the game is played in sets, but I think I can compete with the senior players if I go through a certain adaptation period. I am confident.”