Hong Kong face mission impossible at the 2017 Asia Cup
Even with the help of Chinese Basketball Association drafted Duncan Reid, the Hong Kong team face a huge task against Australia, Taiwan and Japan in their opening group matches in Lebanon
Hong Kong start their campaign at the 2017 Asia Cup basketball tournament in Beirut, Lebanon facing a difficult task on Tuesday – even with the help of star player Duncan Reid.
Locally-born Reid, who was drafted by Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) side Zhejiang Chuzhou last week, will be a big help to the Hong Kong team, but the task is going to be too difficult for the local squad, who are not expected to topple Australia, Taiwan and Japan in their group.
Australia and New Zealand are playing in the Asian tournament for the first time, but are already tipped to dominate the event. And that could spell bad news for Hong Kong, who will face an extremely tough time trying to match the “Boomers”.
But Hong Kong have at least Reid, who could make the difference for the local team.
At 2.05 metres tall, Reid represented Hong Kong at the same tournament two years ago in Changsha, China and he shone, recording the most points, rebounds, assists and blocks for his team.
Hong Kong will first challenge Taiwan in their opening game and they will look to Reid, who helped South China clinch the top tier A1 Division title recently with an unbeaten record.
“The national team is in a tough position as the local regular season finished on July 28, leaving us only with one week to prepare in comparison to other teams who have been preparing for six to eight weeks,” said Reid, one of the co-captains. “Taiwan is an aggressive defensive team with good outside shooting and speed, we will look to pressure their guards and try to slow down their offensive tempo.”
Eastern captain Lee Ki is another Hong Kong player to watch out for. Lee has been one of the team’s most reliable players since debuting for Hong Kong in 2013. He remains an integral member of the Hong Kong team.
Taiwan recently captured the East Asian Championship title in June after defeating South Korea in the final. They thrashed Hong Kong 92-57 in the group stage and the only good news for the Hong Kong camp in Beirut is that Taiwan will be missing American-born forward Quincy Davis and Tseng Wen-ting.
Hong Kong could make a match out of it against Taiwan, but they will encounter huge problems against the much more talented Australia and Japan outfits.
If they are to upset Taiwan, Hong Kong regulars such as Lo Yi-ting, Fong Shing-yee, Wong Chun-wai and upcoming Chan Siu-wing would need to step up big time.
“With regards to Australia and Japan we are fairly undersized in comparison to them across all positions so we will have to focus on our rebounding and protecting the paint,” said Reid. “Offensively we want to push the tempo and spread the floor and use our advantage of speed.
“We are quite a young team, so hopefully we can learn and build.”
Australia will be the heavy tournament favourites. With Olympic veterans David Andersen and Brad Newley and up-and-coming guard, Jason Cadee, a capable playmaker and defender equipped with accurate three-point shooting, the Boomers are expected to show their class.
The top team from each four groups will reach the quarter-finals directly, while the second and third placed teams will have to battle out for the four remaining places. South Korea, Iran, the Philippines and defending champions China are also expected to challenge Australia for the title.