Team Air Zoom coach confident of success

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 August, 2005, 12:00am

The coach of rejuvenated Team Air Zoom - who are competing in the Nike Youth Basketball League playoffs this week - said his boys have what it takes to win the title.

The under-19 side face Team Air Hawk in the second leg of their semi-final at Southorn Stadium tonight, following three straight wins in a stunning second round performance last week.

Air Zoom were disappointing in the first round, losing three matches in a row. But the comeback has given coach Lee Tat-shing hopes of clinching another Nike League honour.

'I have a lot of confidence in my team,' said Lee, who coached the 2002 Nike League under-19 champions, Team Flight.

'I think we are good enough to get into the final. Each team has their pros and cons. We know we will do our best to beat anyone.'

The coach said he worked on defensive strategy after his side's poor first-round display. Because the boys had listened more carefully to his instructions - and played with their heads rather than their hearts - the results had improved, he said.

'I wanted the players to be steadier mentally,' said Lee. 'They are still young and sometimes their performance is affected by their emotions. They need to learn to be focused and always concentrate, no matter what is happening in the game.'

A key player in the team's revival is Leung Man-hung, who scored 45 points in one game. Chan Yik-lun was also a stand-out last week.

Tonight's winners will face Team Turbulence or Team Force in Saturday's final. The title decider will have added excitement, as NBA star Lebron James will be watching from the stands.

Lee has been impressed by Team Force guard Lo Yi-ting. The 17-year-old was a star player for Team Air Hawk, last summer's Nike League champions.

He was the top scorer, top three-point shooter and the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. 'He is a great player for his age. But I still think we can beat his team,' said Lee.

Today's matches: 4pm - Junior Air Max v Junior Uptempo; 5.30pm - Team Turbulence v Team Force; 7pm - Junior Turbulence v Junior Air Zoom; 8.30pm - Team Air Zoom v Team Air Hawk