By Nam Hyun-woo

Ulsan Mobis Phoebus’ Yang Dong-geun was named MVP of the 2014-15 season Korean Basketball League (KBL), Tuesday, becoming the first player to win the top honor for the third time.

With Phoebus head coach Yoo Jae-hak also winning the best coach award, the 2014-15 season champions confirmed that they have been one of the strongest teams over the past five years.

“It was very lucky season,” said Yang during the award ceremony at Intercontinental COEX Hotel in southern Seoul. “Most of all, our team won the KBL three straight times. I’m so happy about that. I want to thank all team officials, coaches, teammates and most importantly my family for supporting me to win this honor

“During the season, there have been many news articles criticizing the league. I hope next season will be better, with articles reporting about tactics and players’ performances,” Yang said.

During the past season, Yang led the Phoebus with his tireless performance and prominence to win the 2014-15 season championship as well as the pennant.

After he made his debut in the KBL in 2004, he was named MVP in the 2005-06 season with now-retired Seo Jang-hoon and won the title the following year, matching Lee Sang-min (Seoul Samsung Thunders head coach), Seo and Wonju Dongbu Promy’s Kim Joo-sung with two MVP titles. Adding another to his trophy collection, he claimed 10 million won as prize money for the title. He also won the best defense award and was named as one of the best five starters.

Yang’s coach, Yoo, also consolidated his status as one of the best coaches of the domestic basketball league. After winning the title in the 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2008-09 seasons, Yoo claimed his fourth best coach title on Tuesday and became the second most “best coach” title winner, following former Busan KT Sonicboom head coach Jeon Chang-jin.

Along with Yang and Yoo, Phoebus’ center Ricardo Ratliffe appeared on the stage three times to win the best five defense players, best import and best five starter awards. Ratliffe spent a formidable season, notching 26 double-doubles for the Phoebus.

The 2014-15 season had raised expectations as the men’s national basketball team grabbed gold in the Incheon Asian Games last year, the first in 12 years. And players and coaches filled the five-month long season with records and drama

Seoul SK Knights veteran Joo Hee-jung marked his 900th appearance, while Sonicboom’s Charles Rhodes recorded 21 points, 14 rebounds and 10 blocks ?a rare triple double given that most triple-doubles are recorded with points, rebounds and assists ?during a game against the Thunders in January.

Also, Phoebus head coach Yoo claimed his 500th win in February, a feat that no KBL coach has ever accomplished.

Wonju Dongbu Promy’s surge also added a thrill to the five-month season. The Promy finished the previous season at the bottom of the 10-team KBL, but became the runner-up in the pennant race and championship tournament.

However ?as Yang said in his speech ?the league organizers’ managing ability was questioned as a series of mishaps occured in the play-off games, making fans lose interest in the KBL.

The organizers rescheduled game 2 of the best-of-seven finals between the Phoebus and the Promy in the middle of the afternoon, making it almost impossible for many fans to watch the games. Also during game 3, a timekeeper abruptly exited the court after an argument with the Phoebus’ staff and the game was halted for about five minutes.

Criticism mounted over KBL commissioner Kim Young-ki and the final series was denounced as the “worst,” regardless of the players’ performances.

SOURCE: The Korea Times