South China's top point guard Lo Yi-ting, the only Hongkonger who also plays in the China's CBA League, has warned of a tough opening match against Winling in the A1 Division championship play-off series at Queen Elizabeth Stadium today.
The Caroliners, who have brought home the league trophy twice in the past two years, finished first in the regular season. They tied with Winling and Fukien on 13 points in the table after seven matches, but prevailed with a higher score for the season.
"We will have the least complete squad for tomorrow's match due to the loss of three key inside players," said Lo, who returns to Hong Kong at the completion of the CBA season.
"Their absence has greatly affected our team's overall strength and we will have to make an extra effort to get off to a winning start."
While Chow Kin-wan is still studying in South Korea and will not be available for the crucial tie, both Tam Wai-yeung and Lau Tung-leung have been ruled out due to injuries.
South China's Duncan Reid topped the scoring with 117 points and an average of 16.7 per match in the regular season.
Winling come into the best-of-five play-off series having snatched the Senior Shield from Fukien in April, with the team's Canadian point guard Tyler Kepkay scoring 42 points.
In the best-of-three play-off series for third, Eagles face Fukien.