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Ansan Okman still winless all month with one game to go

Ansan OK Financial Group Okman's Song Hui-chae, right, attacks during a V League game against Seoul Woori Card Woori Won at Sangnoksu Gymnasium in Ansan, Gyeonggi on Dec. 3. [KOVO]

Okman’s preseason success was partly thanks to head coach Masaji Ogino, who joined the team in the summer ahead of the KOVO Cup.  Ogino’s style of play allowed some players to shine during the KOVO Cup, including outside hitter Shin Ho-jin, who scored 34 points alone in the preseason tournament final. The Japanese head coach, however, seems to have lost his magic touch as his players have failed to shine on the court in recent games. Shin scored just 16 points in the past two games, and the team’s attack overall has been lacking due to key setter absences. Regular setter pick Kwak Myoung-woo, who led the team’s attack in the early days of the season, cannot play due to injury, and another setter, Lee Min-kyu, also injured his leg. Setter Park Tae-seong, 22, played in Monday’s game against the Jumbos, but the attack seemed bereft of cohesion.Okman’s recent struggle have pulled them away from the league title race.  The point gap with league leaders Seoul Woori Card Woori Won has become much wider in the past month. Woori Won were at the top with 27, and Okman was in third place at 22 as of Dec. 3.  
Woori Won have added 17 points since then and sit at the top with 39 points, while Okman slipped down to fifth on the seven-team table with their stagnant 22.  As the 2023-24 V League season is only at its halfway mark — the regular season runs from Oct. 14 through March 17 next year — there is still enough time for Okman to bounce back and recreate their preseason glory. If Okman win the league title this season, it will be their first-ever league victory, which would also allow the Ansan side to compete in the championship. The championship is a postseason tournament in which the league winners and playoff winners compete to be crowned champions. Okman has won the title twice, in 2015 and 2016. Okman’s league victory this season would also end the Jumbos’ three-year dominance. The Incheon side have swept the league and championship titles for the past three seasons. The Jumbos have so far lived up to their title as defending champions this season, although they slipped from the top to fall to third and are now just seven points clear of fourth-place Okman.Okman will face the Jumbos again on Friday at home as they look to redeem themselves from their recent slump. The two sides have clashed twice so far this season, with Okman losing both 스포츠토토존 games 3-0.  

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