Another season of the young S.B.L. is coming, the league expanded again, this season from 12 teams to 14. Teams are again divided into two divisions, FLIGHT and FORCE like last season. Seven teams will play in each division in a round robin format before the playoffs. It will be more competitive this year, since only the first six teams in each division will reach the playoffs. The playoffs format remains the same as in previous season and the top six teams in each division will fight for the championship in 2008.
Let us have a look:
- H.F.C. (Champion, overall 8-0 in 2007)
Having a league-record 27 points, and an all-time average 16.8 points plus 2.6 assists, Tabo Chak has been the centre of the H.F.C.’s (and also the league’s?) universe since they joined the league. Nikko Kwok is proved to be big and consistent enough as another force. In his second season as he has developed, and lead his team in rebounds and ranked third in the league. H.F.C. is going to defend the championship in 2008.
- GRIZZ (1st Runner-Up, 6-3)
Led by Ka Wai Fu, the number two in 2007 scoring, GRIZZ added two new players to the team including Raymond Pak who is reported 188cm and 190 lb, and easily became the second tallest player behind Explorers’s John Cahill (190cm). The 2007 1st Runner-Up should be considered a contender in the S.B.L. again this season.
- G.T. Explorers (Second Round Playoff, 4-2)
They (and we) are going to miss Michael Killeen, who returned to the United States already. But the Explorers, like in every season, have new faces again to join while some were leaving. We are going to meet new foreigner again and he is called Andy Meiers, who reported is 183 cm and 170 lbs. Ivan Choi will also return in action after the injury he suffered in the second round playoff in 2007.
- SAMURAI (First Round Playoff, 3-3)
Chi Chiu Au, who ranked 3rd in scoring last season by getting 11 points a game, should remain the first option for SAMURAI and defense attention of other teams, especially with the departure of forward Michael Chan, who was second in scoring for the team in 2007. The departure of centre Benson Kwong and Michael Chan left SAMURAI a smaller team this season and James Kwan became the primary size and defender under the rim. They have point guard Chi On lau to return from ligament surgery and he should be the boost and help for the team this season.
- Wild Beasts (First Round Playoff, 1-5)
Wild Beasts is coming back again. Who did you see having practice on the street court outside Western park before the 3 on 3 games begin? Being one of the most hard working teams as shown in last season and the half-court games, they are going to fight for a better result this season.
- Challengers (First Round Playoff, 0-6)
Challengers got the talent and skills and they again showed it in 3 on 3 game behind Bryant Chan, Brian Chan and Tung Heung. They just got bad luck for another failure in that event, after leading the first game for more than half, they lost not only the game but also Bryant to a sprained ankle. Bryant Chan, who led his former team G.T. Explorers in scoring, should return and fight again in the coming season. And Bryant will have a first chance to meet his former this season since he changed to be in yellow.
- Dream Team (New)
Former Challengers Venus Cheung, who led his team by 2.3 steal in four games, is going to lead a new group of force in the coming season. Not much information of the team is available so far, thus, we will need to wait and see them when we meet in the games this season.
- SOUTHORN Tigers (2nd Runner-up, 5-4)
The Tigers are going to fight for the championship again after only winning it in the very first season of the league. Dennis Chang, Wilson Chow remain to be two big man in the league others cannot ignore. Their defender Wai Chun Wong may have to miss many games due to work, the return of Edward Fong from the states would add some depth, as well as width (but not height) to the already wide Tigers. The biggest change for the team would only be the increased number of married players, from one to four, and will be five before the coming season ends. A team of “veterans”.
- Photons (3rd Runner-up, 4-5)
Cherry Tsui and Harris Wong were both top ten scorers in the league. With Ivan Shiu and a few other core members, they are going to get some new faces to play too. Many think that they had a successful season and they should keep attracting audience, and providing happiness, to our league’s games. Being the only team to give H.F.C. some real hard moments, they are not going to meet until in the playoffs.
- T-REX (Second Round Playoff, 4-2)
Vincent Siu is the only player who leads his team in all three major statistics – Points, Rebounds, Assists – at the same time. With Ryan Lee being injured as reported, T-REX added some new players and will try to forget a disappointed playoff after a successful season (4-1 before playoffs) last year. They won all but two games in 2007, lost to only the then-champion H.F.C. in regular game and to the 2nd Runner-Up SOUTHORN Tigers in the first round playoff.
- Trojans (Second Round Playoff, 4-2)
Having had a strong season with expectation, Trojans, the defending champion of 2006, has to put the final loss to GRIZZ behind. Jerry Lee, the 4th leader in points will try to lead the team back on track with the help of Michael Lau, who averaged 9 rebounds in 2007.
- M.I.B. (Second Round Playoff, 1-6)
The morale of the these men in black for the disappointing season in 2007 recovered a lot after they handed SAMURAI an disappointing loss in the first round playoffs, before they lost to H.F.C. in the next round. Tim Cheung gained more attention since his 12-point effort in the lone victory for the team, Adrain Chou will try to attack the glass hard again being the leader in rebounds and Jefferson Tong will try to bounce back from his shooting slump in 2007.
- Chung Sing (New)
A group of young players with speed and energy and the energy is going to be inserted to S.B.L. this season. The young team will be, so-to-speak, coached by Tigers’s centre Dennis Chang. Former SAMURAI Kwan Ho Yu should return as a Chung Sing, if he plays, to the court after his HKCEE and play with his friends. Lok Ming Sin, who showed his talent in 3 on 3, should be one of the players to look at this season.
- D.S.F. (New)
Former SAMURAI Michael Chan and Benson Kwong, who joined SAMURAI in 2007, finally leave the team and grouped with their own buddies to join the league as a new team. It is still not very clear of what D.S.F. stands for but it doesn’t matter. We are going to wait and see if the two will beat their former team, or being beaten, and this will only happen in playoffs.
Good Bye to V’s
Due to uncertainties and unavailable of different players, after missing the 3 on 3 games, V’s cannot confirm for the coming season and we are going to miss them in the season 2008 too. We have to wait for another chance to see Chris Tang’s power, Nelson Ho’s three-point shooting and Anson Cha‘s hustle plays.
* The Divison led by H.F.C. remain to be called FORCE Division, thus teams in other group are in the FLIGHT Division.
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