The basketball scene in Phnom Penh has changed dramatically foll-owing the proposed launch on June 1 of Cambodia’s only official league.
The first season’s title sponsorship has been bagged by forex and money transfer operator Western Union, and Coca-Cola is one of the leading co-sponsors.
A basketball challenge series involving eight teams was successfully staged by a group of individuals last year, but the roster has risen to 12 teams for this competition, sanct-ioned and run by the Cambodian Basketball Federation.
Beeline Arena, a multi-purpose indoor facility, will be the home of the CBL Presented by Western Union, which stretches over a spread of 70 matches up to the championship decider, set down for December 14.
Preliminary-round games will be held every Saturday up until mid-November, by which time the final eight teams for the playoffs will be known.
The top-ranked team in the playoffs is assured of the CBL Western Union Cup, along with prizemoney of $1,000 and gold medals for the players.
The losing finalists will receive silver medals and $500, and the team that finishes third will get $250 and bronze medals.
Among the early birds to register are the Cellcard Eagles, the Post Buffaloes, CCPL Heat, Pate 310 and the Phnom Penh Dragons.
More teams, including some that took part in the Cambodian Basketball Challenge last season, are expected to register for the league during the next couple of weeks.
A few sides have stolen a march over others in their preparations, and a couple of tune-up games were played at the Beeline Arena late on Wednesday night.
According to the facility’s general manager, Charles Julliard, these practice sessions will pick up pace in the coming weeks as the league’s launch draws nearer.
“Our idea is to promote basketball, create a competitive platform and make the Cambodian Basketball League an exciting and entertaining weekend special for the fans,” an enthusiastic Julliard told the Post yesterday.
Admission to the games will be free for the entire season, and members of the audience can have their share of basketball fun during the breaks.