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Duncan Reid: 'Hong Kong can compete with these teams'
BEIRUT (FIBA Asia Cup 2017) - Hong Kong made their exit from the FIBA Asia Cup on Saturday after falling to Japan for a third defeat in as many games but there is cause for hope.
His name is Duncan Reid.
A tower of power inside, Reid and a spirited group of Hong Kong players had good spells of play in the tournament and showed they could be a difficult opponent to face once the FIBA Basketball World Cup Asia Qualifiers tip off in November.
"We definitely showed that we can compete with these teams, especially Chinese Taipei," Hong Kong center Reid said.
Hong Kong's best chance to get a win was indeed in their opening day clash with Chinese Taipei. The game was tied early in the fourth quarter but their Far East adversaries ended up outscoring them, 22-9 to win, 77-62.
Hong Kong did not, Reid says, have enough time to get ready for a competition that has gotten a lot tougher with the addition of Oceania powers Australia and New Zealand.
"We're just in a tough situation," he said. "We're definitely the least prepared out of any team here. Our league finished on the 28th of July so we've had a week of practice.""Most of these teams have been preparing for two months. You can see at times we're really disjointed because we have guys from five or six teams trying to figuring it out on the fly."
Reid's improvement the last several years has certainly helped Hong Kong. Born and raised in the country, his father is Canadian. Reid went to the University of Guelph in southwestern Ontario and played basketball there. He returned a much better player.
Now 27, he is his country's biggest weapon.
"It really taught me the game," he said of the experience in Canada. "My improvement from going to Guelph and coming back was astronomical. I wasn't even a good player in the Hong Kong league before I went but afterwards, it helped me.""And the Hong Kong league has improved itself as we've gotten more import level players."
There is still a long way to go for basketball in Hong Kong but good signs are there.
"At the moment, the Hong Kong league is still amateur and our national team is still amateur," he said."We're not getting paid to be here. There is still a lot of room to go but we are definitely moving in the right direction."
Reid has gotten so much better that he will play in China's CBA next season with Zhejiang.
Hong Kong will play in a tough Group A of the Asian World Cup Qualifiers with China, New Zealand and Korea. The team has struggled to find a court that meets the requirements to stage its home games but hopefully it will.
"The best case scenario, we do get a court, we do get to compete, we do get good preparation," Reid said. "I can see us being competitive. I think we can give a couple of those teams a game and moving forward with these players and this coaching staff, I think there is a lot to be positive about."
Though it ended in defeat, Reid says the loss to Chinese Taipei should be viewed as evidence that the potential is there for Hong Kong to do well.
"That game against Chinese Taipei opened a lot of people's eyes," he said. "If I look at it through more of a positive lens, we're definitely moving in the right direction and when the next one (FIBA Asia Cup) is in four years, hopefully we'll still be here, we'll be even better and more competitive."
Hong Kong do not have a player taller them Reid at 2.05m (6ft 9in). The team in Beirut had an average height of 1.88m (6ft 2in).
"We have size but we're not developing it well enough," he said. "We have big athletic guys on our team.""We have to figure out a way to develop bigs and develop guards in Hong Kong.""That's definitely one of our main issues but once we get support, I feel like in the past two tournaments - we beat Bahrain in 2013 and we beat Kuwait in 2015. We can compete and win games if we're together."