Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tanan Wins Mongolian Basketball Championship

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Tanan poses for a team photo after winning the national championship.
By Dashiell Young-Saver

Despite losing their experienced point guard to a shoulder injury and losing by 13 points in game one of the MNBA Finals, Tanan used a relentless fast break offense and tight 2-3 zone to win the next four games, finally clinching the championship on Wednesday night by a score of 91 to 82.
The Sports Palace was standing-room only for the league’s last game of the year, as the body heat in the stadium made the coaches on each bench take off their jackets. The game was evenly matched until the third quarter, when Ts.Azbayar made a four-point play and then a three pointer in back-to-back fast breaks to swing the momentum in Tanan’s favor. Although B.Bilguun, SBL’s top scorer with 29 points, was able to lead SBL back to within one, Tanan’s overall offensive effort, which left five of its players with scoring in double-digits, was able to pull away by the end. About half-way into the last quarter, organizers were already setting up medals, trophies, and gift baskets courtside for the award ceremony.
“This was my first ever finals,” said B.Bilguun. “Tanan was a very tough opponent, and it was difficult to play through all our team’s injuries.”
After the game and a hard-fought series, both teams embraced, and Tanan celebrated in front of its fans with a champagne shower on the floor.
O.Uuganbayar was awarded the Finals MVP award – he led his team in scoring throughout the series, putting up 25 points in the last game. And, during halftime, Tanan’s center Freddie Woods was named Defensive Player of the Year. He led the series in blocks and provided a strong inside presence for the team throughout the season.

“(Winning Defensive Player of the Year) makes it that much more sweet,” said Woods after the game.“It’s the first (championship I’ve won) in a long time. It’s the first one that really means something. I’m proud of it.”After rising from the D-League this year, Tanan was able to finish in third place in the regular season standings and defeated SBL, which has been a powerhouse in the league for years.
Freddie Woods, of the USA, was awarded Defensive 
Player of the Year for his impressive play in the paint.
O.Uuganbayar led Tanan in scoring throughout the series. 
He was awarded Finals MVP and 2 million MNT.
“I’ve been working with this team in the D-League for three years,” said Tanan’s coach U.Davkharbayar. “I’ve won four times as a player, but it feels really good now to get the win as a“(Winning Defensive Player of the Year) makes it that much more sweet,” said Woods after the game.“It’s the first (championship I’ve won) in a long time. It’s the first one that really means something. I’m proud of it.”After rising from the D-League this year, Tanan was able to finish in third place in the regular season standings and defeated SBL, which has been a powerhouse in the league for years.
Medals were presented to three teams at the award ceremony following the game, including the Rigs, who earned third place in the league. The Rigs were awarded 10 million MNT, SBL received 20 million, and Tanan got a check for 40 million, in addition to the championship trophy.But for many players, the awards and picture-taking with fans were accompanied by some disappointment.coach with this team.”
“It doesn’t feel good at all,” said Christopher Lawson of SBL. His dribble penetration contributed greatly to SBL’s scoring against the zone throughout the series. “You always want to win, so it doesn’t feel too good to lose. We could have won, but those guys played well.”
Tanan wore championship sweatshirts and hats, as its players were mobbed by fans for photos on the floor and its owner was hoisted in the air by the team.The players of the new team, for many of whom their futures in the league are uncertain, took the celebration into the night.
“I haven’t felt this way since my junior year in college,” said Antonio Jones. He won the American Division III championship that year. “It feels great to have this feeling again.”
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