SK Telecom T1 head coach Choi “cCarter” Byung-hoon said he’s not that concerned for his team’s upcoming League Champions Korea playoff match against Samsung Galaxy for a number of reasons.
SKT advanced to the second round of the playoffs Saturday by defeating the Afreeca Freecs 2-0. After the match, the head coach told the assembled media what he thought about facing Samsung in the next stage, a team that has already beaten SKT twice in the summer split.
“Every time we faced Samsung it was after coming back from overseas, but I don’t think that’s the reason we lost,” he said. “This time it’s a best-of-five as well, like when we faced them at last year’s finals at worlds. We’re working hard this postseason without thinking too much about our matchup history. I think it’ll be a competitive match between two great teams.”
The timing of SKT’s matches against Samsung really were, oddly enough, immediately after SKT’s return from competition overseas. The first match was after SKT won the Mid-Season Invitational in Brazil, and the second time was after SKT came back from Rift Rivals in Taiwan. This time, SKT will have plenty of practice.
The performances of Han “Peanut” Wang-ho and Park “Untara” Ui-jin stood out Saturday, as they’ve both been seeing frequent play. cCarter said that he was more than confident in the pair’s ability to play well with one another.
“Both players are maintaining their top spots in ranked play,” he said. “Their synergy was strong during practice games too. It was a lineup that we used in the later parts of the split, which managed to have a winning streak as well (after the losing streak). I thought it would be a good source of stimulus for the team.”
With fans concerned after SKT’s mid-split struggles, the pressure was on SKT heading into the playoffs to secure a worlds berth. Part of the team’s focus against Afreeca was the drafting, which according to cCarter, went smooth.
“We prepared a lot for the drafting,” he said. “We were able to predict parts of Afreeca’s picks and bans today. It worked out well for up in the sense of giving up what we can, but still coming out with an advantage. From the bench it did look like the first game might get tough as it dragged on, but we weren’t too concerned.”