Flight of fancy for the Nike league underdogs
Team Flight advanced to the Nike All-Hong Kong Youth Basketball League finals by routing favourites Team Force in the second leg of their semifinal clash at Southorn Stadium, Wan Chai.
Having lost the opener 67-74, Flight - led by the Jing Ying tournament's most valuable player So Yi-chun - ran out 93-63 winners on Wednesday to book their place in the boys' under-19 finals by a massive 23-point margin.
They will take on Team Air Hawk, which eliminated Team Air Max in the other semifinal, in the two-leg championship clash at the stadium this weekend. Air Hawk lost Wednesday's game 67-69, but went through on aggregate, having defeated Air Max 92-80 in the first game.
Flight captain So said his team's high field-goal percentage in the first quarter was crucial to their victory.
'We were really aggressive and focused throughout the game and everyone played really hard,' said the 19-year-old forward.
'We played very good defence and showed great team spirit. We also got a lot of rebounds which helped us to dominate the game.'
Force failed to adjust to their opponents' pressing game and committed many turnovers. Flight led 58-37 at half-time.
Force, headed by Wong Chun-wai - the Nike league's top draft pick - tried hard to make a game of it after the re-start.
However, they were unable to pass a telling ball to Wong, who was well-guarded, while their frequent drive-ins were snuffed out by Flight.
Flight took advantage of their fast-break opportunities by dominating the defensive rebounds.
In the boys' under-16 category, Junior Turbulence tasted victory on Wednesday by crushing Junior Air Max 104-70.
Turbulence guard Ng Wah-kam scored 13 points in the first quarter, leading his team to a 28-14 lead. Turbulence became stronger as the match progressed, while Air Max never recovered from their early setback. In the first leg, Air Max edged out Turbulence 82-77.
Turbulence will play Air Zoom at this weekend's finals.