Unbeaten Sabay Salty Crabs failed their Sela Meas test on Saturday by the slimmest of margins, losing 58-57 in the Cambodia Basketball Challenge, presented by Banzai and Sabay, at the Beeline Arena on Chhroy Changvar peninsular.
In a thrilling encounter, the Crabs were just one basket away from victory with 20 seconds to go. But that crucial shot rimmed out and Sela Meas gleefully held on to the rebound to end the Crabs five-match winning run.
Sela Meas played to their strengths in the first half. Good speed and quick rotations gave them an eight-point lead at the break. But a steady climb back by the Crabs during the third quarter kept their hopes alive.
With Sean Looney and Monh Ratana raising the scoring tempo, the Crabs were within three points of Sela Meas with just two minutes to go. Then came that tantalising twist that resulted in the Crabs spoiling their splendid record.
The return to action from an injury spell of star forward Aimar Sabayo gave Raid-Alaxan FR a distinct edge over Phnom Penh Dragons in both the offence and rebounds. Raid-Alaxan raced away to a 69-55 victory, pegging back a strong third quarter attempt by the Dragons. Raid-Alaxan were simply too overpowering with centre Doughan and Sabayo manning the paint.
Meanwhile on Saturday, it was a triumph for Mobitel XG Warriors’ strategic thinking when they outscored a tough Team Sharky 61-51.
Solid defence and a fluid running game was strategised to overcome the height advantage of the Sharkys in the first two quarters. Cyrus Fred Babida, who had missed out on a couple of recent games, reinforced the Warriors attack with 21 points. Joshua Schmitz proved an admirable ally, making sure of the rebounds with 10 boards.
Colin Meyn led the Sharky fightback with 18 points, while Jeff Kane was held to 10. Time ran out for Sharky just when Meyn’s shooting and Curran Hendry’s inside game began to work well in the final quarter.
In the last match of the day, CCPL Heat were too crafty for Mike’s Burger Knights in their 76-54 victory. Kim Ran led the Heat charge with 19 points, while the Knights managed to stay within three baskets during the first half.
However, from the third quarter onwards, it was mostly a one-way street, with the Heat stretching their lead to as many as 30 points.
The round robin phase ends this weekend leading to the six-team playoffs.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at firstname.lastname@example.org