The third gameday of the Angkor Beer Cambodian Basketball League, co-sponsored by Pepsi and Smart, at the indoor arena of the Olympic Stadium on Saturday features a clash between last season’s big guns, who reappear with changed names and restructured rosters.
One year may sound a long time ago but the memory of Alaxan FR Patriots overwhelming IRB the Lord in the grand final is still fresh. These two teams will now open their campaigns as Davies Paints and Emperors respectively in what is arguably the biggest match-up in the round-robin phase.
With those traces of fiery rivalry spilling over, Emperors, mostly reassembled players from The Lord, will be keen on settling a score with rebranded rivals Davies Paints, who retain last season’s muscle despite a couple of key players such as Curran Hendry and Colin Meyn moving over to Sabay Tigers Mosquitoes.
For the Emperors, led by captain Monh Ratana, who also leads the national team, experience runs deep. Shoring up the bench will be the team’s new acquisition from former side Sela Meas, Chao Prohors, who boasts impressive pre-season stats.
The trio of Aimar Sabayo, John Cornito and Dexter Arcenas is expected to run the Paints’ offence as efficiently as they did while driving the Patriots to championship glory.
After roaring their way to an impressive victory in the season opener, Mekong Tigers face Extra Joss Fighters, who were dealt a crushing blow by Pate last week.
The clear message that came out of defeat for the Fighters was that they ought to cut down their turnovers and improve their playing level.
The Tigers in their current form may be a tough bunch for the Fighters to handle. Under head coach Hun Chanthoeun, the Tigers rank among the top three fancies for the title. The Fighters will have to keep a keen eye on Pheng Darath from the three-point line and Sok Samnang under the rim.
Emperors v Davies Paints 2pm
Mekong Tigers v Extra Joss Fighters – 4pm