Cecilia eyes final hurrah

Cecilia eyes final hurrah

A Form Six basketball star who revived her school team's fortunes hopes her last game as captain ends in victory


Cecilia Wong Bball_L
Photo: May Tse/SCMP
Inspirational Cecilia Wong Man-sze has helped her school basketball team bounce back to winning ways.

The Heep Yunn School team, coached by Dora Yum, had dominated the sport for many years. But in the last school year, they won only the Kowloon District Inter-school title and lost in the finals of the three other major tournaments.

This school year, Cecilia, 18, who plays either point guard or shooting guard, has fired them to three championships out of three. The Form Six student still has one final championship in her sights. Cecilia says the team's dip in form last year was because they depended too much on their outstanding captain, Sze Ping-ping. "Ping-ping always played well. She made a big difference on court," Cecilia says. "Our team relied on her so much.

"Many of us didn't get our duties right in matches. Disappointingly, we ended up losing three finals - all to CCC Kwei Wah Shan College."

Cecilia, who plays for the First Division team Wellborn, became captain for the first and last time this school year; she is awaiting her Diploma of Secondary Education exam results before she leaves school this summer.

Cecilia says the extra responsibility forced her to become more vocal on court. "I am not a naturally talkative person, and I would rarely speak during games," she says. "But as captain of the team, I always have to talk - shout, even - in matches to alert teammates to do a particular thing.

"Off court, Li Tsz-kwan, the other captain, and I are always chatting to teammates to get them focused. Being a captain has led to a really dramatic change in my character."

Cecilia says the team has fewer outstanding players this year. "We may not be so good individually, but the current line-up is much better as a team; everyone is contributing," she says. "In our first final, in December's Inter-school competition, I could sense we were all very nervous. We won it, but did not play well as a team.

"However, we all gelled at the Jing Ying Tournament later that month. In the first round, we faced Beacon College (Mong Kok). They were the strongest team in the draw. Our great teamwork helped us beat them."

Heep Yunn went on to defeat Kwei Wah Shan in the Jing Ying final, then won last month's Panasonic Cup Schools' Championship. Cecilia won the Most Valuable Player award at both tournaments.

Next week is Cecilia's swan song, at the Hong Kong Schools Sports Federation's Inter-School Basketball Marathon. She hopes for a fitting finale - victory to secure a grand slam of all four titles in one school year, for the first time since 2009-10.

"I want to end with one final victory," Cecilia says. "It will be tough, though; I expect close games with Beacon and Kwei Wah Shan if we meet them.

"We play only two periods per match - half of a normal game. We usually draw or have close matches against them. As there's never a big lead, we'll need to stay focused."

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