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Facing Gilas Pilipinas - Hong Kong

Former national coach Chot Reyes wrote 3 words prior to the match against Hong Kong in 2013 — "This. Game. Only.” There were plenty of anxious moment as HK held off the home side for 3 quarters. That’s when you play with pressure mixed with overconfidence as opposed to playing with zero pressure.

 Background:

Hong Kong will be making its 26th FIBA Asia appearance.  

In an interview with the South China Morning Post on the eve of the 2014 Asian Games, 6-foot-2 forward Fong Shing-Yee said: “Even if we reached the main draw, I don't think too many people would care. Like many other previous major games, we just go there, do a job and return home without making any big noise.” 

It stands to reason it will not be any different now, 26th FIBA Asia appearance or not. 

We spoke with Derrick Pumaren, who served as a consultant for the HK national team for 4 years and he believes that despite the general apathy towards the sport and the national team, the Chinese will finish second in Group B. Said Pumaren, “While HK basketball is still a long way from being competitive like the Philippines, they have experienced players who participate in a growing basketball scene in Hong Kong. Now some of these players have been playing together for a while but we don’t know if some of their best players will play in FIBA. As you already know, most of them have serious day jobs and who happen to play club basketball.” 

The Hong Kong Basketball team's roster shows a lot of new names, so expect Palestine to leapfrog past them. However, if their veterans and best players are in uniform for tip off in Changsha, look forward to HK to utilize their experience to the hilt.  

The topsy turvy world of HK basketball might all change in the very near future after newly-promoted Division I team Eastern pledged HK $10 million to make the team the very first all-professional squad in the autonomous territory of the People’s Republic of China. Eastern hopes to break the decade old rivalry between South China and Winling and compete in prestigious regional club basketball competitions.  

Players to look out for:

Chan Siu Wing - point guard. One of the team’s leading scorers.

Fong Shing-Yee - their team captain. Does all the dirty work —  rebounding, defending, setting picks. Scores on putbacks and drop passes.

Duncan Reid - their 6-foot-9 center who can shoot from the outside. Incredibly held his own against Marcus Douthit in 2013. How he does against a legit NBA player like Andray Blatche who can post up, shoot from the outside, or even attack the basket is key.

Lo Yi Ting - will shoot. On the break. On a half court set. Will not hesitate.

Wong Chun Wai - the power forward, the active sort. Like Fong, does the dirty work. 

Scouting report:

They like to shoot. They will look for the open man. They run the pick and roll but aren’t very particularly effective with it. They can pound the ball to the post to Reid who can throw a jump hook. They prefer a more half court set up as opposed to an up-tempo game.  

They're not very good defensively, not aggressive with their shot selection, and are slow to rotate. 

How the Philippines should play them:

In FIBA Asia, the Philippines has a 10-1 record against HK. 10-1? As incredible as it sounds (more so in the 10 wins the average margin of victory is 38.5 points), we have tasted defeat to Hong Kong once before. That loss occurred during the 2003 games when the former British colony won, 66-58. The last time the two countries met was in the second round of the 2013 games where the Philippines had to rally after falling behind for 3 quarters before prevailing 67-55.  

Ironically, those two tough matches were playing in the second round.  

The Philippines should be concerned that the last two times turned out to be tough battles. 

What the Philippines needs to do is get out to a good start by scoring and stopping HK. Unfortunately, whether at home or abroad, the Filipinos will play with a lot of pressure while the Chinese have zero pressure hence them playing more relaxed and upset conscious. If the HK team hangs around within striking distance or is battling toe-to-toe, it gives them more confidence. 

Look for the Philippines to attack the interior on a half court set and to run every chance they get.

 

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