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Murat Naci Coklu enjoys first PBA glory


Published by frits bakker

The HanaPay team with Nguyen, Coklu, Kim and Sakai celebrates victory

GOYANG - Two days ago, he won his first major prize at the PBA and Murat Naci Coklu enjoyed it to the fullest. With his team HanaPay, the Turkish debutant won the final of this year's team competition in the Korean league. The Direct team was beaten 4-3. HanaPay played the playoffs with Nguyen Quoc Nguyen, Murat Naci Coklu, Jung-ju Shin, Byeong-ho Kim and the ladies Ga-young Kim and Ayako Sakai. HanaPay won the decisive 7th set at an interval of 3-3 and 4-1 for Direct. Nguyen Quoc Nguyen and Jung-ju Shin won the first game in the doubles against Eddy Leppens and Dong Koong Kang 11-10, Ga-young Kim/Ayako Sakai lost the ladies' doubles vs Jieun Kang/Orie Hida 9-2, Quoc Nguyen defeated Eddy Leppens 15-12, Coklu/Sakai beat Cho/Hida 9-3 and finally Murat Naci Coklu was the better of Dong Koong Kang 11-5. The scoring in the decisive battle of the playoffs was particularly exciting. Direct (Kang, Leppens, Cho, Jieun Kang/Orie Hida) won the first game 4-0, HanaPay tied at 1-1 and ran out to 2-1 in the next. The next two games went to Direct, 2-2 and 3-2, but HanaPay pulled out the final win, winning 4-3.

Kozoom had an interview after the playoffs with Murat Naci Coklu about his first big win in the PBA tour.

Kozoom/Frits Bakker: We can speak about a hard-fought HanaPay victory over Direct's team. The showdown showed wonderful moments of joy. How did you celebrate with the team?

Murat Naci Coklu: We celebrated it together until morning. After the ceremony and when everything was over, we went to a restaurant and partied and ate and drank all night.

FB/Kozoom: The battle was really tough: 2-1 ahead, 2-3 behind in the middle of the game, then 3-3 and finally 4-3. That must have been very exciting?

Murat Naci Coklu: Yes, it was very exciting. Everyone, our teammates, supporters and team managers, did their duties successfully. The team managers managed to do everything they could to make us feel good. And as team players, we all worked very well together. We believed in each other and supported each other. In the end, success was the inevitable reward.

FB/Kozoom: What does it mean for the team to win these playoffs? Sponsors happy, players happy?

Murat Naci Coklu: We all know that billiards is very popular in this country. The teams are our main sponsors here. Therefore, they mean a lot to us as players. The more we are seen on tv images, the more advertising they do. Of course, we are all happy that we achieved this success and were able to represent our team in the best possible way. It's also important for me myself because it feels great to be able to celebrate this success in my first year in the PBA.

FB/Kozoom: What was the prize money for the winning team?

Murat Naci Coklu: We received 100 million Korean won with this first prize, which is 70,000 euros. I also got the MVP prize (most valuable player) of the final round. That's 5,000,000 won (3,450 euros)

FB/Kozoom: How did you play yourself, individually and in doubles?

Murat Naci Coklu: I lost two games in the final round against Eddy Leppens and won against Dong Koong Kang. And I won a lot in the doubles. My average was 1.562 over 7 games.

FB/Kozoom: Especially in the mixed doubles, you were very successful with Ayako Sakai, one of the great players in the ladies. You won 5 times and lost only two games.

Murat Naci Coklu: Ayako Sakai and I are a very good couple and important for the team. We train together a lot. In the Scotch double with Ayako, we lost only once in 7 games against Orie Hida and Cho Keon-hwi.

FB/Kozoom: Was HanaPay really the strongest team in this competition with such good players?

Murat Naci Coklu: All the teams are strong, and the female players in the teams are very important here. We couldn't even imagine becoming champions before we went to the play-offs, but we used all our strength and we succeeded. I can say that the main reason is that everyone in the team acted as one collective. We really became one, so we succeeded in our mission.

FB/Kozoom: How is the atmosphere like in the team competition? Many people in the stands for the matches, good ambiance?

Murat Naci Coklu: It is wonderful to witness. The fans of the teams who come to watch the matches motivate the players and the players themselves enjoy the activities and entertainment in the arena. Lights, music, dance performances, entertaining shows and presentations beautify the playing hall in every way.

FB/Kozoom: Will this team remain the same for the next competition?

Murat Naci Coklu: I don't know about anything yet. It is not the players' choice. The sponsor decides.

FB/Kozoom: When does the next individual event start for you?

Murat Naci Coklu: We will start the next individual adventure on February 6.

FB/Kozoom: How do you personally look at this first year in the PBA?

Murat Naci Coklu: I didn’t have much success in the individual tournaments so far. That was a slight disappointment for me. But I feel motivated by the team championship. Things will be much better now. I will try to do my best in the next two tournaments and be able to qualify for the world championship.

The play-offs after the regular competition were played with five teams:

HanaPay (Byeong-ho Kim, Jung-ju Shin, Nguyen Quoc Nguyen, Murat Naci Coklu, Ga-young Kim, Ayako Sakai, Jin-ah Kim)

Direct (Dong Koong Kang, Eddy Leppens, Dinh Nai Ngo, Keon-hwi Cho, Orie Hida, Jieun Kang)

Green Force (Jae ho Cho, Hyun-woo Kim, Minh Cam Ma, Seong-uk Oh, Antonio Montes, Min-a-Kim, Bo-mi Kim)

Laon (Jae-guen Kim, David Martinez, Tae-jun Oh, Tae-kwam Kim, Jung-suk Lim, Min-jo Baek)

Bazzar (Deuk-hee Hwang, Dani Sánchez, Yeong-hun Lee, Ji-eun Han, Seul-gi Han, Woo-kyung Lee).

Thanks, Murat Naci, congratulations on this great team win and good luck in the upcoming tournaments.

Kozoom team.

Murat Naci Coklu and Ayako Sakai, glorious team for HanaPay

The winners with the trophys

The winners with their ladies, husbands and children

The title is won by HanaPay, players celebrate the overall win

Tears of joy in the stands after HanaPay's team win

Direct team in second place with Dong Koong Kang, Eddy Leppens, Jieun Kang and Orie Hida 

The victory after the play-offs celebrated by HanaPay