Like father, like son

Like father, like son

A teen prodigy wants to follow in his famous father's footsteps on the basketball court

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Victor with his father, Ricky Ng.
Victor with his father, Ricky Ng.
Photo: Thomas Yau/SCMP
Victor Ng Ka-hin has his father's basketball genes in his blood. And the teen has already outshone his famous dad in at least one aspect: his height.

At 1.85 metres, Victor is about two centimetres taller than his father, Ricky Ng Chu-yip - a local basketball legend in the 80s and 90s. Ng started his career in the First Division league with Kwan On Basketball Team in 1979 when he was just 15. His career lasted for 26 years and he retired from Winling in 2004 at age 41. He is widely seen as one of Hong Kong's best point guards ever.

Hands-off dad

Ng hasn't made a point of grooming his son Victor, a Form Six student at Ying Wa College in Sham Shui Po, to follow in his footsteps on the court. "We only play for fun," Ng says.

Victor notes he wasn't a basketball prodigy from the start. "When I was in Form One, I remember my elder sister asked me if I'd be the captain of the school team one day. I didn't think it would be possible," he recalls.

But in Form Two, his dad's genes kicked in. "That year Victor started to grow taller. I took him to play basketball with my old mates, and they all said he had potential. I had my doubts, but when I took a closer look, I realised it too," Ng says.

Great expectations

Hong Kong Basketball Association coaches started to take note of the boy, too. Victor, who turns 17 next Tuesday, has already represented the city in two overseas tournaments so far.

When he first stepped up, the media spotlight immediately switched on. The Chinese media called the teen star "Son of Ng Chu-yip".

"This put pressure on me at first," Victor admits. "I don't want to let people down. I also didn't want my mistakes to tarnish my father's image.

"But I know that by training hard, I can live up to his name. I am proud to be my father's son because he is such a star and so many people respect him."

Dad on the sidelines

Yet despite the ups and downs of Victor's performance on the court, his father says he will not interfere during a game. "We can talk about it after the match," Ng says.

"Victor's team has its own coach and I will not interrupt him in his duty. I usually sit high up in the stands and support Victor quietly. Usually he looks up to find me and we nod to each other," he explains.

"I look him in the eye and that's how he knows I'm supporting him."

Just a normal teen

Ng, 49, says that when it comes to basketball skills, Victor shows greater potential than even he did. But that does not always translate into some aspects of the boy's off-the-court behaviour.

"In many areas Victor is a good boy. But sometimes he comes home late as he wants to have dinner outside with his friends after practice," says Ng.

"I don't mind if he meets them and have a chit-chat late into the night on weekends as I also enjoyed the time with my friends.

"But I have to say, 'Not on weekdays please'. He has school early in the morning and it is not possible for him to have enough rest before lessons if he stays up late."

Looking ahead

Ng, a supervisor at the Water Supplies Department, says he wants his son to at least complete a bachelor degree course at university before he becomes a professional basketball player.

So Victor has taken a break from his current team Winling's training schedule to prepare for next year's HKDSE exam.

"I joined the youth team of Winling last year and my progress was OK. I chose this team because I saw dad playing for Winling when I was a kid," he says.

"After the exams, I would like to continue my career with the team. I hope to emulate my father's success on the court. If possible, I would also like to play as long as he did at the top level - two decades or more in the First Division league."

Eye on the game

But right now, Victor has an important mission.

"As the school team's captain, I am hoping to reclaim our inter-school competition title next month," he says. "We face our first big challenge next week when we play Diocesan Boys' School."

His school lost to La Salle College in last year's inter-school basketball competition's final. Victor insists he wants to make sure that doesn't happen again. His dad agrees.

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