The Angkor Beer Cambodian Basketball League, set to roll at the indoor hall of the Olympic Stadium this Saturday, will have 10 teams in the fray instead of the initially planned 12.
The number of competing teams has been kept at 10 to enhance the qualitative level of each roster so that the intensity of competition also increases.
The first game of the second edition of the competition features CCPL Warriors and NSK Dream, marked for a 2pm start. Next on the card is a contest between Phnom Penh Dragons and Mekong Tigers.
“I am glad that Angkor Beer stepped in as our title sponsor this year with Pepsi lending support as co-sponsors. We are ready for the launch of what should be another exciting season,” Michael Dibbern, one of the organising committee members who also doubles up as the Dragons coach, told the Post yesterday.
Under a newly introduced tournament stipulation to boost local talent, every team must have at least three Cambodian players in its ranks.
Meanwhile, the technical panel of the CBL completed the formal draw last week to determine the order of the teams that would facilitate the match schedules for the round robin phase.
Most of the games will be on Saturdays but a few odd ones may spill over to a weekday evening.
The quarterfinal playoffs, the semis and the championship game will all be held between November and December.
The following are the competing teams in the order determined by the official draw.
Extra Joss Fighters: In last year as the Extra Joss Warriors. A mix of Cambodian and players from Indonesia, Philippines, Nigeria and Russia.
Phnom Penh Dragons: Into their second season, the Dragons are equal parts Cambodian and international, represented by three from the US and one each from France, Kazakhstan, United Kingdom and China.
Emperors: The all-Cambodian Emperors are a new addition this year but the team is mainly made up of players from IRB The Lord, who finished second behind champions Alaxan FR Patriots last year.
CCPL Warriors: A good mix of Cambodians and Filipinos, the Warriors have roped in Sovann Panha, a star performer with CCPL Heat last year.
GL Concrete: Predominantly Cambodian stock with just one American as a stand out player.
Mous Khla: A new entity and a mixed bag of some hidden surprises.
NSK Dream: Fully Cambodian components – the youngest team in the CBL.
Davies Paints: Has a strong presence of players from the Philippines who were part of the championship winners Alaxan FR Patriots. There are some good Cambodian players in the pot as well.
Mekong Tigers: The all-Cambodian Tigers are in effect a rebranded Sela Meas squad, who finished third last season.
Pate 310: Star player Sok Tour leads the charge this season for the team that is all Cambodian bar one from the US.
The newly renovated playing arena has a seating capacity of up to 7,000 and the playing floor has been completely redone.
The Cambodian Basketball Federation has maintained that shifting the venue this season from Beeline Arena situated in the outskirts of Phnom Penh to a centrally located Olympic Stadium should be of great convenience to players, officials and fans.
Entrance for the members of the public is free for all matches during the season.
CCPL Warriors v NSK Dream 2pm
Phnom Penh Dragons v Mekong Tigers – 4pm