Chan books team on flight to success
By Jonathan Powell
Chan Yik-lun, Lau Hoi-to and Lo Hiu-fong won Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards, leading their teams to victory in the finals of the Nike Youth Basketball League at the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai last weekend.
With Chan at his best, and guided by experienced coach Li Kim-ming, Team Flight edged out Team Force in the two-legged under-20 title match.
An 88-82 win on Saturday gave Flight a cushion for game two the next day. Although Force, coached by Chu Ka-chun and with stand-out schoolboy Lo Yi-ting leading the way, won the second contest 85-82, it wasn't enough. They fell three points short of Force's aggregate score.
In the girls' competition, Lo was the outstanding player for Lady Uptempo - coached by Tam Yau-tong - as they made a stirring comeback in the second leg of their final against Lady Air Zoom.
Down 67-73 from the first game, Lo inspired her teammates to a crushing 75-59 victory in the second game to clinch the championship.
Junior Air Zoom took the boys' under-17 crown. Their opponents in the final were Junior Uptempo, who included the league's top scorer and MVP, Daniel Strange.
The first game was a tight affair, ending 76-74 in Uptempo's favour. But Air Zoom stepped up their game the next day, winning 62-54 to claim overall honours. Air Zoom's Lau was named the finals MVP.
The three-week summer tournament features 200 players, and is the climax of a five-month basketball training programme for 5,000 juniors. NBA star LeBron James was a special guest at the tournament on August 9.
Under-20 champions Team Flight will take part in next season's All-China High School League, which features 128 teams from 16 provinces on the mainland.
Meanwhile, Nike announced that Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant will visit Hong Kong on September 6 as part of an Asia tour. He will meet fans and share tips at a coaching clinic. The venue and schedule have not yet been confirmed.