Choi Sung-won to Huons… PBA TeamLeague Drafted, Only Opening Remains
The PBA TeamLeague’s Huons Healthcare Legends have acquired domestic three-cushion powerhouse Choi Sung-woon and Semi Saginer (Turkiye), also known as Mr. Magic. After finishing last in the regular season last year, the Huons immediately became a title contender after signing Dae-er.
The Professional Billiards Association (PBA) held the 2023 PBA Team League Draft on Wednesday afternoon at the Korea Press Center in Jung-gu, Seoul. The teams held their player selection ceremony ahead of the new season.
The Hawks used their first-round pick in the TeamLeague Draft to select Choi Sung-won, with only Javier Palazon (Spain), Kim Bong-cheol, 먹튀검증 and Kim Se-yeon as reserves. They then selected Semi Sei-Giner with the first pick in the second round and Jeon Ae-Rin in the third round to complete the team.
With the second pick in the first round, Hiwon Resort selected veteran Lee Chung-bok. The team then selected a Vietnamese duo in rounds two and three, selecting Nguyen Duc Anh Chien and Nguyen Phung Linh respectively.
With the third pick in the first round, Welcome Savings Bank began the first round with Frederick Kudrong (Belgium), Birole Wimaz (Turkiye), and Kim Ye-eun as reserves. Welcome Savings Bank started with Kim Lim-kwon, followed by Lee Sang-dae, Higashiuchi Natsumi (Japan), and Choi Hye-mi in the first through fourth rounds.
With the exception of Lee Woo-kyung, SK Rent-a-Car placed all the remaining players on protection. The team ended the draft without any additional signings. Crown HaeTae also selected Oh Tae-Jun (third pick in the second round) and Kim Tae-Kwan (third pick in the third round).
Hanakad became the “strongest women’s team” alongside the existing team of Kim Ga-young and Kim Jin-ah, with the addition of Tunisian powerhouse Murat Nasi Choklu (4th pick in the 2nd round) and Japanese 3Cushion powerhouse Ayako Sakai. In Round 3, upstart Eswai selected Lee Woo-kyung to pair with Han Ji-eun and Han Seul-ki.
In Round 4, Uhm Sang-pil (Blue One Resort) and Kim Byung-ho (Hana Card), who struggled last season, returned to their parent teams at No. 2 and No. 4, respectively. With the first pick, Welcome Savings Bank selected Choi Hye-mi.
The NHL Card used the third pick to select last season’s PBA Rookie of the Year Antonio Montes (Spain). Since then, teams that have bolstered their rosters have given up their picks one after another, with newcomer Eswai adding Zheng Aing Vu (Vietnam).
In the first three rounds of the PBA Team League Draft, teams with the fewest protected players had priority, followed by the lowest-ranked teams in the previous season’s regular season. In the fourth round, the top teams from the previous season’s regular season were selected in order. 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, “You don’t have to worry about the poor performance of the Hawks last season.” “We chose to go pro to show that we are still strong, so we will show you a great performance,” he said.
The PBA Team League is scheduled to begin in early August, after the rosters for this season’s team league have been finalized. Prior to the start of the team league, the team will hold its first tour event of the season at Blue One Resort in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province on July 7.