HONG KONG—Fong Shing-yee never imagined that he would one day be the recipient of an award from NBA All-Star Rajon Rondo. Nor did he dream that he would be representing Hong Kong in a basketball tournament world final after returning from a summer holiday trip to France.
But on Saturday Sept 1 he did just that.
Just days after jetting back to Hong Kong, the 1.91 metre power forward, who plies his trade for local team Wing Lun, was recruited to play in the “Red Bull King of the Rock Regional Championships” by an associate.
Eliminating all-comers, 28-year-old Fong used his bigger and stronger physical presence to his advantage as he dominated the game from the perimeter to qualify to the next exciting stage.
Now in its second year at an international level, the tournament culminates on Sept 22 when it brings together 64 streetballers from 25 different countries to compete on the grounds of the former maximum security prison Alcatraz Island located in the San Francisco Bay, US.
As the winner, Fong will now head to the United States and onto the infamous prison-yard basketball court where he will compete to claim the King of the Rock title. He will need to win five, 5-minute, one-on-one games, in the grueling knock-out format that tests endurance as much as skills to take the coveted title.
Making his day was the inclusion of guest of honour, Boston Celtic’s and 3-time All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, who was on hand to present Fong with the award for the winner of the Red Bull King of the Rock 2012 Regional Championships for Hong Kong and Macau at the Southorn Indoor Stadium in Wan Chai on Saturday.
Fong was totally flabbergasted with how his day had ended.
“I had never imagined I would be winning this tournament and even receiving my trophy from a real NBA star,” he claimed.
Complaining how he had felt rusty throughout the tournament after not practicing in any sports for the past two weeks, he explained how he was entered into the tournament on the whim of a friend and that he then surprised himself by taking the title.
Fong survived a 64-player minefield in the regional Hong Kong and Macau qualifiers, which consisted of 48 Hong Kong players, 8 Macau and 8 wildcard entries.
“Now I will have to go and apply for my visa to America and then it’s back to the gym for me,” said Fong, who feels he still needs to bulk up and prepare for the tournament, which he believes will be dominated by bigger or better players than himself.
Fong, who dominated the day in Hong Kong, was nearly matched move-by-every-move by Yuk Fai power forward, Dan Chan Wing-wai, who had to concede the title to Fong when he lost by three points: 10-7.
No matter how Fong does in Alcatraz, he is convinced he will now be able to fulfill his two life-long ambitions when the Hong Kong basketballer lands in America—to attend a NBA match and his love of shopping.
“Once I am eliminated from the tournament, I am going to shop till I drop,” he said.
Eddie So is a photo journalist with over 20 years experience based in Hong Kong.
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