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Fast break friendship
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - The Ak-Bars (Snow Leopards) team and Transit Center at Manas team congratulate each other after their basketball game at the Kojomkul Sports Palace in Bishkek, Jan. 15. The men's TCM team lost to the Kyrgyz team 78-41. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jerome C. Baysmore)
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Kyrgyz basketball team bests TMC 78-41

Posted 1/17/2011   Updated 1/17/2011 Email story   Print story


by 376th Air Expeditionary Wing
Public Affairs

1/17/2011 - BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Despite the cold, the Kyrgyz basketball team made short work of the Transit Center at Manas men's team at the Kojomkul Sports Palace Saturday 78-41.

The Ak-Bars (Snow Leopards) team recruited a few professionals to field their squad for the fifth meeting between the two teams, but despite that fact, it was all in fun and strengthening partnership.

"Last year, things went better, "said Mr. Vladimir Trunov, Ak-Bars coach. "I'm a professional, but I know we're not playing against professionals so we didn't play at that level."

Mr. Trunov added that his team enjoys playing with Americans, and they're still learning as well. They've also recently returned from placing highly in a 14-country wide tournament the United States.

"We have a combined style of play, but we enjoy playing and learning from American-style basketball."

The Kyrgyz team took the upper hand early and didn't let up until the final buzzer. Both teams vying fiercely for rebounds, blocks and steals, yet at the same time enjoying the camaraderie.

"Basketball is typically a mainstream sport in the United States, and it's always good to play," said Marcus Cooley, TMC coach. "We can get people out from the Transit Center to play with the Kyrgyz teams, and it brings us together. They fight fiercely on the court, but in the end we're all here for the same reason, to make Kyrgyzstan a better nation.

"Everyone competes; everyone wants to win for their individual teams, but afterwards we can all come together for a common goal. After the game, everybody was shaking hands, and we got to know the coaches from the other teams, so it was a very good experience."

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