Underdogs are ready for a big fight

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 May, 2011, 12:00am

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Underdogs Ho Yu College and Primary School in Tung Chung face what some might call a 'mission impossible' on Saturday.

They play Hong Kong Inter-School Basketball Marathon reigning champions Beacon College in the Panasonic Cup Schools' Basketball Championship 2011.

It's a tough time ahead for Ho Yu because they're also scheduled to play defending Panasonic champions Ying Wa College later on the same day.

They are all in Group A, nicknamed 'the group of death', because only the top team can advance to the semi-final.

The group stage matches for both boys' and girls' divisions of the Panasonic Championships all kick off on Saturday.

Twelve boys' teams were allocated four different groups at a ceremony held more than a month ago. Ho Yu are considered underdogs, but actually they might not be push-overs for the apparently stronger teams in the tournament this time.

Ho Yu's boys' Grade A basketball team achieved their best results ever this school year. They clinched their first title at the Tsuen Wan and Islands District Inter-school Basketball Competition and made their first appearance at the All Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Basketball Tournament in December.

Small forward Jimmy Wong Chi-yin, a sixth former, told Young Post that they almost lost to St Francis Xavier's School, Tsuen Wan, in the semi-finals of the inter-school competition. 'St Francis were ahead of us after half-time and it was the hardest match we have ever had this year,' Jimmy said.

'We followed our coach Killer Lui's instructions and came back to catch up in the third and fourth quarters.' The team won, achieving something they didn't think was possible.

Captain Oscar Lau Yun-yuen, who plays at centre, said the team had trained hard to prepare for the Panasonic Cup competition. The Form Six student added: 'We were helping our Grade B and Grade C players to prepare for the inter-school competition. And we are now preparing for the upcoming matches on Saturday.

'We lost the first match in the Jing Ying Tournament because we were nervous and our physical fitness was not as good as our opponents' on that day. Our coach has a specific strategy for the Panasonic Cup this time.'

Another small forward, Benny Fong Tsz-yat, a fifther-former, said he was very optimistic about the tough games ahead against Beacon and Ying Wa. 'We have already won the district title ... This is the first time we will be playing at Southorn Indoor Stadium [in Wan Chai]. We will treasure the chance to play at this venue which is always booked to stage major basketball tournaments. It will be a great chance to let people know what we can do. We have nothing to lose.'

Ho Yu play Beacon College at 7pm and Ying Wa at 9.15pm at Southorn Indoor Stadium on Saturday. Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis.

More details at www.basketball.org.hk