T he Grade A boys' basketball team from HKTA Ching Chung Secondary School are set to start another amazing year. In the last school year, the Third Division team captured the Grade A title for the first time, proving they are in the leading pack of Hong Kong's school teams.
They entered the quarter-finals of the Jing Ying Tournament against higher division teams from other districts last December, and lost to eventual champions Ying Wa College. They also reached the final 16 at the Inter-school Basketball Marathon in July, again losing to eventual runners-up Ying Wa.
Ching Chung's players are hoping for another successful year. But first they need to win the Grade A boys' final of the Inter-school Basketball Competition (Division Three, Kowloon Area 3) at 6pm tomorrow to qualify for the Jing Ying Tournament.
The school has bought 170 tickets for students, who are excited to watch their teammates battle against Delia Memorial School (Yuet Wah) at Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai. The campus television station has also produced a short video clip about the team to promote the game.
Captain Victor Wong Tsz-him, a Form Six student, says the team is in the final preparation stages for the important game. 'We've intensified our training and played some friendly matches in the past few days. We're ready, and confident we can defend our title,' he says.
Star player Enoch Soo Yan-lok, a Form Seven student who has represented Hong Kong in overseas youth tournaments, says many teams have improved their defence this year.
He adds: 'We'll have to be careful in the final, as we have never faced DMS [Yuet Wah] before. They beat Kwun Tong Maryknoll College in the semi-finals by one point. Our [coaches] have watched and analysed our rivals for us.'
Enoch's classmates Clarence Tsui Siu-chor and Ken Wong Mun-fu are also key players on the school team.
Clarence, who plays centre, says his team works well together. 'It is nice to see my teammates having the same goal and enjoying being together.'
Ken says the team has been trying to improve, and not only focus on local inter-school tournaments.
They travelled to Changhua, Taiwan, where they played friendlies with students from Mingdao University.
'We trained with them, and found it challenging. We also had the chance to learn more about admission to Taiwan universities for Hong Kong students - we all graduate this year, after all,' says Ken, who plays power forward.
The boys also went to Macau where they played a friendly against Pui Ching Middle School.
Principal Benjamin Ng Yau-keung is delighted to see the team's progress.
'We organise activities for the team, as we want them to take the initiative to do well in every aspect,' he says.