New Hong Kong basketball tournament ‘will pull in the sponsors’

The inaugural HKBA Cup that kicks off this weekend will also provide local players more opportunities to compete against each other

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 January, 2018, 6:59pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 January, 2018, 10:34pm

A new cup tournament will tip off this weekend, giving local players a third regular home event to provide more playing opportunities while pulling in more sponsorship.

The inaugural HKBA Cup will feature teams from the top tier A1 Division and the second tier A2 Division, with a maximum of 36 matches, including a best-of-three championship decider, all to be held at Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai.

“There are only two traditional events – the league and the Senior Shield – and with the launch of this tournament, we can provide more playing opportunities for players, especially those young players in the lower division,” said organising committee chairman Dick Choi Kai-sun.

“The tournament can also be a new platform to raise sponsorship as we know basketball is always a popular event in Hong Kong which can attract commercial backing.”

The official said all 10 commercial on-site A-boards had been sold with more sponsors likely to come in.

“This is just the beginning and we are happy to receive an overwhelming response,” he said. “Of course we hope to attract more potential sponsors in a long run to help the sport and we are confident this will happen with the growth of the tournament.”

To close the gap between teams of two different divisions, Choi said they would allow A2 Division teams to use two foreign players while the senior clubs would use one. The lower division foreign players will not need to fulfil residence requirements as clubs are allowed to sign anyone interested, while A1 Division foreign players must be those who have spent one year in Hong Kong before registration.

“We hope the move can make the tournament more competitive as foreign players always play a pivotal role in club basketball,” said Choi.

Defending league champions South China remain the top favourites in the new tournament not only because they have already have a strong squad but they have recruited several new faces from the locally born western community, while rivals Winling are expected to mount a serious challenge. Eastern, who are also featured in the regional Asean Basketball League, will be another force to be reckoned with.