Korean Basketball League

Gutang, Changwon overcome Abarrientos, Ulsan for outright semis berth in KBL

Martin Mendoza

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Gutang, Changwon overcome Abarrientos, Ulsan for outright semis berth in KBL

Changwon LG Sakers

Justin Gutang gets the last laugh over RJ Abarrientos as the Changwon LG Sakers advance automatically to the KBL semifinals after securing the No. 2 spot behind Rhenz Abando’s Anyang KGC

MANILA, Philippines – Justin Gutang and the Changwon LG Sakers clinched an outright semifinal berth in the Korean Basketball League (KBL) after gutting out a 97-88 win over RJ Abarrientos and the Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus on Wednesday, March 29.

Abarrientos outplayed Gutang in their head-to-head matchup, but it was the former CSB Blazer who got the last laugh as Changwon (36-18) finished the regular season at the second spot, which comes with an automatic seat in the semifinals, together with Rhenz Abando’s league-leading Anyang KGC (37-17).

Former NBA journeyman Dante Cunningham willed Changwon to victory with a game-high 30 points, while Gutang contributed 9 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal. 

On the other side, Gaige Prim paced Ulsan – which dropped to No. 4 in the standings with a 34-20 card – with a double-double of 26 points and 11 rebounds, while Abarrientos added 21 markers, 4 boards, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

Already assured of the top spot, Anyang ended its regular season on the wrong foot as it absorbed a 101-72 beating at the hands of the Goyang Carrot Jumpers. 

The KBL Slam Dunk champion Abando racked up 9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks for Anyang in the lopsided affair. 

Meanwhile, SJ Belangel’s Daegu KOGAS Pegasus and Ethan Alvano’s Wonju DB Promy, who both failed to crack the six-team playoff cast, wrapped up their respective 2022-2023 KBL campaigns in contrasting fashion on Wednesday. 

Belangel had 9 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal in Daegu’s 75-57 demolition of the Jeonju KCC Egis, while the Filipino-American playmaker Alvano scored 12 markers in Wonju’s 86-75 loss to the Seoul SK Knights. 

Elsewhere, Dave Ildefonso and the also-ran Suwon KT Sonicboom closed out their season with an 84-81 win over the Seoul Samsung Thunders.

Former PBA import Lester Prosper showed the way for Suwon with 20 points and 8 rebounds, while Ildefonso recorded just 2 markers and 1 board. – Rappler.com 

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