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Eagles face Scorpions in final

The Siem Reap Globe Eagles (left) play against the Kampong Speu Global Giving Scorpions during their 2009 Cellcard National Volleyball League match July 25.

The Kampong Speu Global Giving Scorpions book a date with the formidable Siem Reap Globe Eagles to contest the league championship and a $3,000 prize.

THE Siem Reap Globe Eagles will face the Kampong Speu Global Giving Scorpions in the 2009 Cellcard National Volleyball League Grand Finals at 7pm Friday October 16. In the third-place playoff at the earlier time of 4pm, current league title holders Kampong Speu CTN Koupreys square up to six-times champions Phnom Penh ANZ Royal Dragons.

The top four teams are vying for one of the largest purses in Cambodian sports. The National League Champions will take home US$3,000, with runners-up pocketing $2,000, and third place grabbing a cool $1,000. Though the cash provides an adequate incentive, there is little doubt that provincial pride is what’s truly at stake.

After sensationally trouncing every other team in the league, Siem Reap Globe Eagles perched at the top of the table with an impeccable record
of nine wins, losing just three sets on their storming flight to the finals.

Kampong Speu Global Giving Scorpions clinched second place, with losses coming only against Siem Reap and third-place team Kampong Speu CTN Koupreys. Third in last year’s competition, the Scorpions sealed their finals berth by the narrowest of margins over their hometown rivals, standing equal on games won but having lost one set fewer. The Scorpions dropped a set in a tight match against sixth placed Takeo ISPP Templestowe Falcons on Friday, but held on to ensure their place in the finals with a comprehensive 3-0 thrashing of Prey Veng Kingmaker Cobras later that day.

Current title holders Kampong Speu CTN Koupreys square up to six-times National League Champions Phnom Penh ANZ Royal Dragons for third-place spoils. The Dragons managed to halt their abrupt slide down the rankings on the last day of competition by defeating newcomers Kampong Cham Bartu Bulls and narrowly overcoming Kratie Nike Changemakers Dolphins.

The fourth-round fixtures held at the Olympic Stadium last Friday and Saturday once again witnessed some fierce competition, with Battambang MOSVY Tigers missing out on a playoff spot by two lost sets to Phnom Penh. Dragons coach Kim Horn is now planning a radical overhaul of his team through an injection of new young athletes into his ageing squad after their worst performance in years.

At the tail end of the table, Kratie Nike Changemakers Dolphins battled through a 5-set marathon against Phnom Penh to narrowly lose out 2-3, before being given a swift lesson in net work by the dominant Eagles to lose 0-3. However, victory over Kampong Cham, Prey Veng and Pailin over the course of the season leaves Kratie in a respectable seventh.

Close behind are newcomers and surprise of the year Kampong Cham Bartu Bulls, who genuinely impressed everyone with their team spirit, morale and love of the game. Led by national team spiker Sang Veasna, the Bulls have quickly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, and even took a set off Phnom Penh on the final day of the season. Next year will see former national team player Pin Ty take the coaching reins in Kampong Cham, with Sang Veasna given the task of establishing a new team in Kandal province.

Prey Veng Kingmaker Cobras and Pailin Frechen Lions prop up the foot of the ladder, with 1-8 and 0-9 records respectively. Prey Veng could consider themselves unlucky after a number of very close matches, and they remain one of the most consistent and tightly knit teams in the league, hindered only by a distinct lack of height at the net with the departure of 6-foot Met Mean to Kratie.

It’s back to the drawing board for Pailin, though, who had their most disastrous season since joining the National League in 2006. Coach Khem Pheng Tong had no excuses for his underachieving side, once feared nationwide for their aggressive style of play. Expect a rejuvenated team to enter the court in 2010.

With the 2009 Cellcard WOVD Cambodia World Cup just around the corner in December, selection for the Cambodian National Team is dominating team talks, and national team coach Christian Zepp has the potential to pick a dream team with a real chance of grabbing the world No 1 position.

The CNVLD wishes to thank Cellcard and all the team sponsors in the 2009 Cellcard National Volleyball League, as well as R O Water and the volunteer team from DDD and ANZ Royal Bank, for helping this year’s national league reach its potential.

Interested parties are invited to Olympic Stadium on October 16 to see who will be crowned 2009 Cellcard National Volleyball League Champions. Entrance is free.



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