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Hong Kong entering EABA 2017 loaded with confidence
At least, that's according to head coach On Hing King, whose wards are aiming for at least a top five finish in order for them to officially qualify to the FIBA Asia Cup 2017 and and the Asia Qualifiers for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.
One big reason for coach On's trust in this particular iteration of the national team is their collective experience and how they have relatively impressive balance and depth at each position.
"We are very confident that if we play at our level we will finish in the top 5 at EABA," he said. "This is one of the most experienced and complete teams that Hong Kong has fielded in recent years."
Featured on the team are more than a handful of veterans who are sure to be at their peak. This includes international tournament veterans like Lo Yi Ting and Wong Chun Wai. Lo has been one of the Hong Kong's star players since debuting on the senior stage in 2005, even playing in the Chinese Basketball Association for several seasons. Wong, meanwhile, is an undersized power forward, but he has proven to be very crafty and resourceful. He can stretch opposing defenses and open up the lane for the team's frontliners and slashers.
|12-player Hong Kong roster for EABA Championship 2017|
|Au-Yeung Wai Kong||Chan Siu Wing||Chow Ka Kui||Fong Shing Yee|
|Lau Hoi To||Lee Ki||Leung Shiu Wah||Lin Ho Chun|
|Lo Yi Ting||Duncan Reid||Tsai Choi Kwan||Wong Chun Wai|
Hong Kong will not be among the biggest teams at the EABA Championship with an average height of only 1.88m, but they will be among the oldest teams with an average age of 27.3 years old. Most of Coach On's players have been seasoned by battling against some of Asia's best these past few years, and that experience will come in handy when they take on China and Chinese Taipei in their preliminary group.
Much of Hong Kong's hopes are pinned on their main man in the middle, Duncan Overbeck Reid. The 2.04m center was Hong Kong's leading scorer int he FIBA Asia Championship 2015, putting up 13.0 points per game while also adding 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 blocked shot.
"I expect our team captain Duncan Reid will play well and carry us to attain our main goal," coach On shared. "Also, we expect to challenge and be very competitive against a team like Chinese Taipei."
Other players who will be expected to contribute heavily are those who played on the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions team that bagged the ASEAN Basketball League 2017 championship. These are deadshots Lee Ki and Chan Siu Wing as well as hardworking forward Fong Shing Yee.
Hong Kong have never finished on the podium at the EABA Championship, but they did have a breakthrough in 2013 when they finished among the top four teams.
Hong Kong open their campaign against heavyweight China on Day 1. They rest on Day 2 before their head-to-head with Chinese Taipei on Day 3. Only the top five teams of this competition will qualify for the FIBA Asia Cup that will be hosted in Beirut, Lebanon this coming August, and those same five teams will earn berths for the Asia Qualifiers that begin in November.