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Golden Kings sweep two in Asian series

Date Posted: 2009-09-24

The champion Ryukyu Golden Kings opened the 2009-2010 basketball season the way they finished in May, victorious in a pair of Asian series matches against Taiwan and Korea.

The Golden Kings, who roared to the Basketball Japan League title in only the second year as a franchise, joined the international championship series at the Okinawa Convention Center, first defeating the Taiwan Super League’s Pauian Archiland, 109-87 on Saturday, then taking on Korea’s pro league 2009 champion on Sunday.

Okinawa built a 15-point lead in the first half, but the Korean KCC Egis wasn’t intimidated, getting stronger and establishing a strong second-half rhythm to narrow the margin. Korea’s defense interfered with the Golden Kings style, stymieing the hometown team and causing a lot of missed shots. The speed attack favored by the Golden Kings was slowed by KCC Egis, leaving Okinawa to fight for every point.

Okinawa held on for the 73-69 victory, sending the Golden Kings to Korea this weekend for a Sunday championship matchup in the International Challenge Series.

The Ryukyu Golden Kings are Okinawa’s first ever professional sports team, styled along the lines of American basketball. The team is coached by Dai Oketani, a former Oita Heatdevils head coach. The squad’s 15 members are a mix of American, Okinawan and Japanese players.

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