Cheng holds Fukien key in division play-offs

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 July, 2006, 12:00am

Schoolboy and Hong Kong team member Cheng Kam-hing could play a key role as Fukien look to win the A1 Division League play-off final tomorrow.

Hong Kong Basketball Association development director Raymond Leung Wai-man has tipped the 21-year-old to make his mark at senior level, and help Fukien beat Winling in the deciding Game Five of the series.

'I think of the younger players taking part Cheng is the one who could come off the bench and make an impact,' said Leung. 'He is good defensively and offensively.'

Cheng isn't expected to be in the starting five, but will almost certainly play a role. He made his presence known in Game Four on Tuesday, helping his team overcome Winling 85-83 in overtime, at a packed MacPherson Stadium.

That win levelled the scores at two games each. The final game in the best-of-five series will be held at the same venue tomorrow (6pm) and another full house of 2,000 spectators is expected.

'It's 50-50 who will win,' said Leung. Both teams are well prepared. It all depends on the performance of each team. The last game was very tight. Just two points in it. One mistake could make the difference.'

Fukien also has Diocesan Boys' School stand-out Lau Ling-fai, 20, and Wong Chun-wai, 21, on its roster. Both are new signings this season and will be keen to show their talent on the big stage.

Young players on the Winling roster include former Newman College ace Li Kiu-fung, 21, known for his shooting skills, and Fong Shing-yee, 23.

'If it isn't going well for the starters the younger players could get a chance. It would be an exciting moment for them as it is rare for the less experienced players to get a chance in the final.'

Fukien, who lost the A1 League title and the Shield competition to South China last season, will be determined to make amends this year.

Fukien look the better side as they boast a number of top players including towering centre Sung Fong and Hong Kong internationals Chung Ming-tat, Lui Chor-wai and Choi Fong-yue.

However, Winling also have top local player Poon Chi-ho and have shown a highly skilled level of teamwork throughout the season.

Meanwhile, the Inter-School Basketball Marathon ends tomorrow at Harbour Road Sports Centre. Games start at 10.30am. The finals begin at 2.45pm.