Cup finals prove perfect rehearsal
Hong Kong's best junior basketball players took part in the Bank of China (Hong Kong) 54th Festival of Sport President's Cup competition at Harbour Road Sports Centre last Saturday.
The tournament is organised by the Hong Kong Basketball Association to promote the sport and give young players the chance to develop their skills. Although both the boys' and girls' finals involved two teams - A and B - chosen from Hong Kong's junior teams, it did not detract from the competitiveness of the encounters. In the boys' final, the B team beat their A-team rivals 57-52, while the Bteam also won the girl's contest 42-40.
The boys' contest was tight throughout, with the B team claiming victory thanks to some late jump shots scored right at the death.
Twelve of the boys taking part in the final are now representing Hong Kong in U16 matches against Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Datung and Deyang at the China City Games in Wuhan, Hubei .
Preliminary matches for the Games started on Monday with teams competing for a place in the final round to be held this autumn.
Chang Yiu-fai, 16, a point guard from Ying Wa College, who is one of the boys playing in Wuhan, said the Cup had been the perfect rehearsal for the China City Games.
'The Games is a high-level competition and that is why, even though the Cup was between teammates, we took it seriously.
'We played flat out to test ourselves - as if it was a really important do-or-die match.'
Yiu-fai was in the winning Cup team, along with two of his schoolmates, Cheung Yiu-shing and Victor Ng Ka-hin, who are also both competing for Hong Kong in Wuhan.
'We have been playing together since we were children and I think that was why we had the advantage in the President's Cup final,' Victor said.
Players from the B team could also be taking part in the forthcoming All China Secondary School Students Games. Leung Shiu-wah, 16, of Ho Ngai College, who played power forward in the winning team, and Yiu-fai are among those hopeful of final selection.
Girls taking part in the junior final were not using the President's Cup contest as a warm-up for any contest, like the China City Games.
Yet the players also have a target this season. 'We are playing together for Man Sing team in the Hong Kong Basketball League (B Women's division), so every match is valuable to us,' Lo Hoi-lam, 17, a Form 5 student from TWGHs Lo Kon Ting Memorial College, said.
'We can use the practice to improve as players so that we become more experienced when facing senior teams in the league.'
Tse Ip-ki, captain of the Hong Kong girls youth team, was not too disappointed, despite being on the losing team in the girls' Cup final.
'The result was not the important thing,' Ip-ki, 19, a Form Five student from Beacon College (Yuen Long), said.
'The game meant we were able to see the performance of players. This is a standard match with referees. Now I know that when my teammates play we'll compete very well.'