From Gyereuk to the bench leader

KT beat Hyundai Mobis and LG one after another and took the stage in the championship game for the first time in 17 years since the 2006-2007 season. Although the league’s best scorer Paris Bath performed brilliantly, Eric contributed to the team’s rise by playing the role of salt.

Eric made his KBL debut this season, but he is a bold big man in the European leagues. He is also a center for the Nigerian national team, and has played in the top-ranked league in Europe. Although he was not a player who would join the KBL before, he faltered after an anterior cruciate ligament surgery in 2022 and answered KT’s love call this time.

After coming to Korea after hardships, Erik did not meet expectations this season. He only played 8:38 per game on average, recording 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds. He was humble. Rumors were circulating that Erik would be replaced throughout the season. KT, which failed to find a suitable Kyochet player, started the playoff with anxiety. However, Erik properly turned the game around.

In the semi-final PO against Hyundai Mobis, Eric gave a fight under the basket against Gage Prim, and in the semi-final PO against LG, against Asem Marei. In particular, he showed his competitive edge against Marei, LG’s flagship “rebound machine.” KT, which properly deployed Eric to prepare Bath’s physical strength, eventually won a ticket to the championship game after a close game in the fifth round. At the time of the regular season, KT manager Song Young-jin said, “Eric seems to have yet to recover his condition after knee surgery. I think he will do well when his physical condition comes up,” and Eric is responding to the expectation at the PO.

Currently, Eric is even serving as a bench leader. Bath has ambitions for playing time. However, it is essential to arrange physical stamina during the PO event, which is scheduled for each team. Song mostly saved Bath by using Eric in the second quarter. However, Bath expressed his dissatisfaction with the move. Despite this, Eric took care of Bath even in the fourth quarter. At the match-winner event in the fourth quarter, Erik first conceded, saying, “It would be nice if Bath could play now instead of me.”

“Eric also plays the role of catching Bath when it is mentally unstable. As a veteran, he sacrifices for his team and plays his role well. He has improved his physical condition and is helping a lot in terms of performance,” Song said. Expectations are high on whether Erik, the hidden champion of KT’s advance to the championship, will continue to play in the championship.

BY: 안전놀이터

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