Busan KCC, which finished fifth in the regular season, is just one win away from advancing to the championship game.

KCC won 102-90 at home against Wonju DB in the third game of the best-of-five (PO-3) quarterfinal playoffs of the 2023-2024 Korean Basketball Association (KBA) at Sajik Gymnasium in Busan on Nov. 19.

After taking the first and third games, KCC has a two-game lead and needs only one win in the fourth and fifth games to become the first team from the fifth-ranked team in the 토토 regular season to advance to the championship game.

In the best-of-five best-of-three PO in professional basketball, which began in 1997, the team that wins Game 3 after taking Game 1 has advanced to the championship game 19 out of 21 times, a 90.5 percent chance.

Conversely, DB, which led the league wire-to-wire after the start of the regular season without losing the top spot, was on the brink of ending the season with just one more loss. Only twice in the previous 26 seasons has the No. 1 seed failed to make the championship game.

Leading 57-51 at halftime, KCC pulled away in the third quarter thanks to a big night from Choi Jun-yong. Choi, who joined KCC as a free agent from Seoul SK ahead of this season, hit a three-pointer with 1:28 left in the third quarter to make it 76-70, and then scored seven points in a row, including two consecutive two-pointers, to give KCC an 83-70 lead heading into the final quarter.

DB was shaken by the premature five-foul ejection of their key powerhouse Kim Jong-kyu with 5:41 left in the third quarter, trailing 58-64.

KCC, which took a 13-point lead thanks to Choi Jun-yong’s seven consecutive points at the end of the third quarter, continued to push the gap to 87-70 at the start of the fourth quarter with back-to-back baskets from Ragan-ah and Choi Jun-yong, foreshadowing the loss.

After DB scored its 70th point on a Dedrick Lawson free throw with 1:52 left in the third quarter, a “scoring drought” proved fatal for KCC, which went nearly five minutes without scoring until Lawson hit another three-pointer with 2:46 left in the fourth quarter.

KCC was led by Laguna with 27 points and 10 rebounds, while Choi Jun-yong added 25 points. Heo Woong also had a strong offensive performance with 19 points, bringing the total to over 100 points.

DB was led by Lawson with 25 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, but lost the rebounding battle 25-32 as Kim Jong-kyu had just four points.

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