Hong Kong team set eyes on Streetball title
South Korea and the Philippines will pose the main threat to the ambitions of Hong Kong's three-on-three all-stars in the adidas Streetball Finals in Guangzhou this week.
Szeto Wai-kit and Phratrairat Phatwit from CMA Secondary School, Ho Ting-nam from CCC Tam Lee Lai Fun Memorial Secondary School and Lo Hung-leuk from St Stephen's Church College will represent the SAR in the 12-team event.
The tournament, now in its seventh year, will be held at the Guangzhou Tian He Sports Centre on Saturday and Sunday. It will feature eight provincial teams from the mainland, as well as South Korea, the Philippines, and Chinese Taipei.
At their first training session together last week, the Hong Kong boys said they were aiming to win the title after last year's third-place finish.
'We will be up against elite players for this age group, but I am confident we can do well,' said Wai-kit, 19, a member of the Hong Kong team who went to Manila for the 2005 finals.
'It would be better to avoid the Koreans early on as they are very fast and good shooters. Our strength will be in our teamwork and spirit.'
The mainland teams will also pose a threat, said Hung-leuk, 18.
'I think the Chinese players are the most skilful, and they have a height advantage, too. The Philippines will play a physical game and we need to be ready for that,' he said.
Ting-nam, 18, said the hosts will also be serious contenders.
'Guangzhou will have the support of their fans which could be a factor,' he said. 'It will be great to play in front of many people. It will make for an exciting atmosphere.'
The SAR team will be led by experienced coach Chu Chun-sang, who steered Hong Kong to the semi-finals last year.
NBA star Tracy McGrady, who is due in Hong Kong next week, will be a guest at the tournament. He will judge three-point shooting and slam-dunk contests.
Streetball is faster than regular five-a-side basketball. The games last just 10 minutes, and the clock never stops.
'There is more space and it's more intense,' said Wai-kit.
'If a team is leading, it will make deliberate fouls to run the clock down. You need to shoot and pass fast to stay in the game.'
The Hong Kong team leave for the mainland on Thursday.