War Dog Wins, War Dog Wins! AK Leads SK to Title
|So it ends, the great experiment, with the ultimate hand-picked team by GM Andre Liu, with what it was designed to do – garner the chip.|
Staving off a hungry – and angry – Yaletown, 52-46, Liu’s team ended any repeat hopes by the Canadian Ivies as JR Bautista led ‘em with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Yale simply had no answer for the human pogo stick who finished close, dropped from far, and grabbed rebounds like he was yawning. Bautista was hardly the only factor however as Akshat Tewary also made his presence felt with an 11 point, 18 rebound double double. If rebounding was like yawning to JR, then it was like breathing to AK.
Killing teams all season long, these two bigs clogged the middle, but it was hardly their only way of dealing with teams as they had a deadly outside game led by the likes of Eljay Aguillo and Josh Tuazon - remember him?
While JT was in school on Thursday (and why he left the team earlier in the season), Eljay was himself schooling teams this entire season with his 36.4% 3-point shooting (13.6 ppg). He was relatively quiet against Yale, but he had a big 3 and whenever the ball was in his hands, it was a steady ship the team sailed.
Wait just one second however. Felix Shen runs this team at the 1, folks. He demonstrated that again on Thursday, as he has all season, by serving the ball up where it needed to be on the break and in the half-court set. He doesn’t get the big assist numbers (2.0 apg), but he’s the guy who sets up the guy who gets the assist often, and that’s just as important – as it is in the game of hockey. Figures, as Shen – whom this writer hung out with on Thursday in New York and then his brother, actor Parry Shen the next night in L.A. - has family who hails from hockey-mad Canada.
Aly Govani didn’t exactly pull a Willis Reed, but he did appear out of nowhere as he was reported as going to not show up for this big game. In a championship game, little things like this matter. If anything’s going to give your team a mental boost, an extra pep to your step, you gladly welcome it.
2007 Summer/Fall AL Champions - SK WAR DOG
The high-energy player only had 2 points, 1 rebound, and 1 steal, but that rebound and steal could have prevented 4 points, so his 2 points plus a 4-point prevention equals a 6-point swing – the difference in this game.
Did Aly G mean the difference between a chip or a game headed to overtime? You make the call.
Really tight D. Yes, JR, AK, JT, LJ, AA, and any other initialized player you want to shove on their roster could light up a scoreboard but they could also wax a chump like a candle, so please, let’s give their D some respect!
They held teams to 44.2 ppg, second lowest in the AL. Only the Hypebeasts broke the 50-point barrier against them in the playoffs. And never did they once lose the rebounding war in the post-season – a telltale sign of how focused their players were in hitting the glass before they set about choosing how they would score on the opposition – an Eljay 3, a JR drive, or an AK FT-line jumper?
Doing just about everything else, including piecing this team together, A-Liu – who captured his second crown ever – the other with the AAA Jurassic Park a couple seasons ago – looked as spry as ever this season amongst the trees as he contributed threes, rebounds, and steals finishing 4th, 5th, and 3rd on the team in those important categories. He did more of the same on Thursday, appropriately icing this game in the end with a basket and a free throw.
That he essentially finished what he started was mere fodder for the fairytale.
Owen Wang, let’s not forget. Little O may as well have been renamed Rolaids for he spelled massive r-e-l-i-e-f for Shen, Aguillo, and any other backcourt baller these guys had to offer.
He took the least shots of anyone on the team who played at least 6 games, he did it with a smile, and he did it with the biggest biceps this side of 5th Avenue. At every position, this team had all kinds of back-up and rare was there any lack of production. O was just another shining example.
Oh, well except for that WNBA game.
Go back to October 11th, when Arif Ansari, the team’s beat writer, compared their 36-24 loss to a WNBA game. Maybe this team did have some holes. Maybe they didn’t always have enough back-ups, especially when they played early in the season against Hype with just 4 players. Maybe AA comparing the low-scoring, non-exciting Moe’s affair to a women’s game can get him into heaping, hot trouble.
Well, while we figure out whether we have another Don Imus on our hands, let’s spell it out for the champions.
SK War Dog, it wasn’t perfect, but it was perfectly fine.
You weathered the storm, you captured the crown, you were as successful as can be.
Enjoy it now, while you can, for in a month, the Dog will become the hunted.
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