Sabay Salty Crabs (green) compete against Raid-Alaxan FR in a friendly basketball match. Photograph: supplied
It is a unique experience in many ways and it has been months in the making. Nothing to match its competitive candour has ever been tried before.
Finally, after jumping through several flaming hoops, the highly anticipated Cambodian Basketball Challange is ready for a blast off on Saturday at the 2000 capacity Beeline Arena in the Chroy Changavar Peninsula. The season stretches right up to the Championship Game on October 20.
Originally branded as the Smart Mobile Cambodian Basketball League, the country’s first privately funded and organised event has evolved itself as an eight-team Challenge series.
The void created by the withdrawal of Smart sponsorship has now been filled by Banzai, who operate top quality Beeline Arena and Sabay, a popular website in Cambodia. Nagalottery is the latest to jump onto the bandwagon as an associate sponsor.
“The belief that CBC will play a positive role in uniting people and contribute to social cohesion is what has inspired us. This runs parallel with our own aspiration of building Cambodia with you,” Winn Phuah, executive director of Nagalottery, told the Post.
“Sabay is proud to be a main sponsor of the first ever CBC. We continue to support enthusiastic sport lovers as well as help revive basketball in Cambodia. We have competitive interest as well through our sponsorship of Sabhay Salty Crabs,” Dary Dek, Sabay's brand manager, told the Post.
“As the official home of the CBC, we want to promote basketball in Cambodia through this event for which we specially brought in equipment. Promoting sport in Cambodia is a priority; it is the reason why Banzai actually built the Beeline Arena,’’ said Charles Julliard, marketing & events manager at Beeline Arena, owned by Banzai.
The CBC has been sanctioned by the Cambodian Basketball Federation though it has no major role in the day to day running of the show, except for the fact that most of the officials for matches come from the CBF.
Part of the delay in the launch of this event was to do with the installation of a new court at the Beeline Arena.
With no outlet in Cambodia for high quality basketball hoops, Banzai had to go for imported ones similar to those used in the highest levels of competition.
Banzai has installed a 54-inch tempered glass backboard and breakaway rims, the type which are well known to be resistant, strong and scratch proof, ensuring consistency and reliability in shots off the glass.
The backboard is a crucial element since its shape and the material it is made of impacts how the ball plays off a bank shot and how a missed shot comes off for a rebound.
Now to the nitty gritty of the opening day Challange when all the eight teams will be in action.
Sabay Salty Crabs and Mobitel XG Warriors square off at 2.00pm and the next three games feature Sela Meas vs Phnom Penh Dragons, Team Sharky vs CCPL Heat and Raid-Alaxan FR vs HTPS Mike’s Burger Knights.
The CBC is a mosaic of locals, expats and players from several other nationalities.
Most of the games through the season will be played on Saturdays with just a few spilling over to Sundays.
Under the compact competition format, each team will play the others once. The top six teams advance to a single elimination play-off with the top two teams getting first round byes.
For latest CBC updates you can go to their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/CambodiaBasketball
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]