Inter-school basketball teams' Coliseum bonus
By Jonathan Powell
Hundreds of students will get free passes to watch the annual Eastcolight Super Kung Sheung Cup International Basketball Championship, from July 18 to 23 at the Hong Kong Coliseum in Hunghom.
The Hong Kong Basketball Association and the Hong Kong Schools Sports Federation have teamed up to organise a three-on-three inter-school tournament outside the Coliseum for the duration of the championship, to which all participants will get free entry.
Over 200 teams have signed up for the knock-out contest, each with a squad of four players. There will be a boys and a girls category in four separate age groups
Top teams including Jing Ying champions Diocesan Boys' School, and Kowloon Champions Ying Wa College will be competing.
The semi-finals and finals will be held inside the Coliseum, and the final will be a curtain raiser to the Super Kung Sheung Cup title match inside the Coliseum.
'This is an exciting opportunity for the students, knowing that they have a chance to play in front of a packed Coliseum,' said Raymond Leung Wai-man, HKBA development director.
'Hopefully having this schools tournament at the same time as the Super Kung Sheung Cup will show the government how important youth development is. It will inspire the players to have lots of fans watching them.'
The Super Kung Sheung Cup is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. The annual invitation tournament features seven foreign teams and the Hong Kong team, with the Coliseum usually a sell-out for the final rounds. A package ticket for all six days costs $100.
The reigning China Basketball Association (CBA) champions Winnerway of Guangdong will spearhead a strong field.
Others national teams will represent the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia as well as Kagoshima from Japan and a Southern Californian Fukienese Association side.
The Guangdong side beat the People's Liberation Army 4-1 in the best-of-seven play-off series final in April, to lift their third consecutive CBA title.
Guards Zhang Zhe and Qu Shaobin and forwards Yu Liang, Chen Dawei and Ji Le will form the backbone of the Guangdong team along with 2.13-metre youngster Su Wei.
The Hong Kong team will be coached by Chu Yiu-ming of the South China Athletic Association, and his assistant Happy Valley's Lam Chun-wai. They will announce a training squad of 16 to 18 players after the domestic A1 Division play-off finals this week.