After a week’s break in the wake of the national general elections, teams are back to the grindstone at the Beeline Arena on Saturday in the Cambodian Basketball League sponsored by Western Union and Coca-Cola.
The three-match program excludes the top three ranked teams – Alaxan FR Patriots, IRB The Lord and Extra Joss Warriors – with the day thrown open for lower-ranked ones to make some gains as the race for play-off places takes a serious turn.
The highest ranked at five among the teams rolling into action during Week 8 of the competition will be the all-Cambodian Sela Meas, who despite winning two of their four games so far are still struggling to touch their known best.
Yet their all round strength could prove decisive against the ranking table trailers Galaxy, who have alarmingly faded out after a prominent start.
With an average scoring advantage of six points per game over opposition, which is quite close to the top four, Sela Meas may find the going to their liking against a side which has a lowly median of negative 12.75 points per game.
The most interesting match-up of the day will be between Phnom Penh Dragons and Pate 310. There is little to choose between the two sides if their previous scoring progression is used as a yardstick to measure their chances.
While the Dragons found Sela Meas too hot to handle, going down by a widening 20 points in their previous outing, Pate’s fate was sealed in the dying minute of the game by Ganzberg, who made acres of ground to get up to that vital winning basket. Both Dragons and Pate relish fast pace and the key could well be which of the two can maintain a steady tempo.
Both Ganzberg and Post Buffaloes will be coming off their first wins of the seasons looking for some positive bounce from those efforts.
The Buffaloes’ thrilling win over CCPL Heat decidedly had greater merit than Ganzberg’s scramble past Pate.
After three defeats and that narrow squeak against Heat, the Buffaloes are beginning to grate the grooves and should they reproduce their winning form, Ganzberg may have to deal with a tough call.
A notable footnote in their record so far is that Buffaloes had managed to even outscore the top ranked Patriots in the second quarter of their game, though they were squarely beaten in the end.
Ganzberg may look back with some pride on the performance of Sergio Rodriguez, who inspired that late rush against Pate and if he gets going, Ganzberg could well match Buffaloes stride for stride.
Phnom Penh Dragons v Pate 310 – 2pm
Sela Meas v Galaxy – 4pm
Ganzberg v Post Buffaloes 6pm