Like their soccer counterparts, the Hong Kong Basketball Association (HKBA) has gone out and secured the services of two foreign coaches to boost their results on the international stage. Canadian duo Tim Darling and Dave MacNeil have been hired by the HKBA. They will be in charge of a preliminary 28-man squad picked for December's Asian Games in Bangkok. Head coach Darling and assistant MacNeil - the latter is here for six weeks only - will cost local basketball about $750,000. But the association feels it will be money well spent. 'Basketball has never finished in the top 12 at previous Asian Games and our aim this time is a top-eight place,' said Stanley Au, HKBA vice-chairman. Darling, who has coached extensively at collegiate level in Canada, said his first aim would be to shore up the defensive work of the Hong Kong team. 'Asians love to play a perimeter game and shoot three-pointers. While I will continue to nurture that, my focus will be on defence,' said Darling. In their bid for glory, the HKBA had originally looked to the United States. But even college coaches are expensive in America and despite having a $500,000 subsidy from the Sports Development Board in their pockets, the HKBA felt it would not be in their best interests to get an American. So their next choice was Canada. 'Darling came highly recommended and we hope he can achieve our goal,' said Au. Au denied that basketball had followed in the footsteps of soccer who last year secured Brazilian Sebastiao Araujo as coach of the Hong Kong team. 'We have talked about it for the past two years. But it was confirmed only last October after the SDB said they would subsidise our costs,' he said. Hong Kong's leading player Yung Kam-wah was hopeful that the presence of foreign coaches would lift the team to new heights. 'Foreign coaches can impart fresh ideas and knowledge. If the team can get together we will do well. But I think a top-eight finish will still be hard to achieve,' said Yung. Basketball, like any other sport, has still not been given approval by the Amateur Sports Federation & Olympic Committee to take part in the Asian Games. The 28-strong squad will be cut to 18 around July or August and then trimmed to the final 12-man team in September. SQUAD Li Wai-lun, Choi Fong-yue, Yung Kam-wah (all from Regal), Leung Kwok-shing, Wu Kok-fung, Lee King-lun, Lui Chor-wai, Tang Yiu-ho, Chung Ming-tat, Yip Chi-tat (all from Fukien), Yeung Man-wah, Cheung Kam-chow, Chan Tze-ho, Leung Chun-bun (all from Seapower), Tang Siu-kui, Choy Kam-wah, Cheung Kam-man, Lee Ka-yiu, Wong Chi-wai (all from Winling), Yu Hing-hoi, Ho Kwok-man, Chak Man-keung (all from Wide Way), Yeung Chi-wang, Tam Wai-yeung (both from Youth), Lai Chin-keung, Lam Chum-wai (both from Suntex), Leung Hoi-yue (Fire Services) and Chu Sai-kit (Eagles).