Tigers claw their way to under-19 title
The Tigers won the under-19 boys' title of the Nike Hong Kong Youth Basketball League 2010 after a hard-fought final at the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai.
The tournament featured up-and-coming players who competed in the boys' under-16, under-19 and under-22 categories and under-19 category for girls.
In Sunday's under-19 boys' final, the Tigers overcame a second-half fightback by Tiger Sharks to claim a 72-68 victory. Sharks' Lau Hoi-to - the 2008 tournament's Most Valuable Player (MVP) - was clearly the best player on the court. He scored a game-high 29 points and set up several scoring opportunities for his teammates.
The Sharks were trailing 24-36 at half-time, but Lau led a furious comeback after the break as they tied the game at 64-all with two minutes to go.
Both teams were awarded a pair of free throws, but Sharks converted only one out of two while the Tigers made both.
With his team down 65-66, the 2-metre-tall Lau drove towards the basket from outside the three-point line only to have the ball stolen away by Tigers' defenders. The turnover proved to be costly for Sharks and they went on to lose by four points.
Chan Siu-wing of the Tigers - who scored 23 points - was named MVP of this year's competition.
The Hornets defeated the Eagles 81-64 to claim the boys' under-16 crown. In the under-22 final, the Raptors blew away the Mavericks 90-50.
The Swallows beat the Hummingbirds 53-47 to win the girls' under-19 championship. It was a close game throughout, with the Swallows leading 24-22 at half-time.
'I knew the opposing team depended a lot on their point guard Sze Ping-ping so we tried to contain her early with our pressing defence. This way, we were also able to disrupt their offence. It was exhausting to play in such a way but our players' teamwork and determination helped us through,' said Swallows coach Yeung Lai-wah.
The Tigers earned a spot in the China High School Basketball League, where they will compete with top teenage players from the mainland.
Moreover, eight players from each of the under-19 and under-22 categories will be selected for an All-Star team who will take part in the Greater China Tournament of Champions in Beijing.
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