‘Welcome Savings Bank’s Victory Fairy’
Choi Hye-mi, 29, who led Welcome Savings Bank to its first win in the fifth round of the Team League, shared a hilarious anecdote about her father.
Wellcome Savings Bank defeated the Hawks 4-2 in straight sets on Day 3 of the fifth round of the Welcome Savings Bank PBA Team League 2023-2024 at the Kintex PBA Stadium in Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do at 6:30 p.m. on April 8. It was their first win after two losses in Round 5.
With the win, Welcome Savings Bank earned three points to tie Blue One Resort, which had the day off, for third place in the regular season with 50 points, improving its chances of qualifying for the postseason.
In the first men’s doubles match, Wimaz, who teamed up with Seo Hyun-min, scored two points in the seventh and three in the ninth to give Welcome Savings Bank a 9-3 lead. Huon’s Kim Bong-chul rallied with three points in the 10th to pull within 6-9, but a two-point bank shot by Wimaz in the 13th gave Welcome Savings Bank the first set in 27 minutes.
Welcome Savings Bank then took the second-set women’s doubles and the fourth-set mixed doubles, while the Huons took the third and fifth-set men’s singles to narrow the set score to 3-2. In the sixth-set women’s singles match, Kim rallied for five points in the sixth game to go up 8-2, but Kim fought back to win 9-8 and give the team its first win of the round.
On the day, Choi Hye-mi played in both women’s and mixed doubles, taking two sets and contributing significantly to the team’s victory.
Speaking to the media after the match, Choi Hye-mi said, “I think we lost the first two matches in the first five rounds because we let our guard down a lot. My approach of playing without being intimidated worked well today. I made fewer mistakes in basic balls and practiced my weak side rolls regularly. I’m hoping that I can finish the team league well and play quickly in individual matches as I have more confidence (laughs). I believe that the team league will go to the postseason unconditionally,” she said.
Choi Hye-mi won her first professional title in the 6th Tour NH Card LPBA Championship Final (best-of-seven) of the 2023-2024 professional billiards season on November 8 last year, defeating Kim Ye-eun of Welcome Savings Bank with a set score of 4-2. Choi, who made her professional billiards debut in the LPBA Open Challenge, which was held for female hobbyists when professional billiards launched in 2019, became the first “hobbyist” to win a professional title.
Choi said, “My confidence has increased a lot since becoming a champion. I can definitely afford to play well next time. When I was practicing at the pool hall, many people recognized me. There were even fans who came to the pool hall from far away,” she said, noting the changes after winning the championship.
Choi Hye-mi’s father is his daughter’s “No. 1 fan,” and has been cheering her on in the fifth round of the Team League. He also cheered her on when she became the first LPBA champion. However, after her victory, Choi said, “I apologized to my dad, but honestly, I wanted him to be quiet (laughs). He was quiet from the second set, so I was able to concentrate better.” She also shared a funny backstory.
“At the coffee shop, I told my dad, ‘My dad might feel bad, but I need to focus on the match first’ (laughs). We came to an agreement,” she said, sharing a hilarious behind-the-scenes story.