The Angkor Beer Cambodian Basketball League was at its theatrical best on Saturday at the Olympic Stadium Indoor Arena as Davies Paints and Emperors earned wins.
Davies Paints smeared black all over CCPL Warriors as they posted the season’s second triple-digit score and in the bargain recorded the biggest victory margin in their 119-49 slaughter of the lambs.
Paints’ runaway train also smashed Smart Dragons’ two-week old scoring record of 113. Painful as it was for the Warriors, what kept the excitement alive was the impressive sectionals Paints were turning out.
There was no hint of the mayhem that followed when Warriors started the game, but they began to crack once the team chemistry failed them yet again. By half time, Paints led 59-18, stretching it to 84-36 the next quarter and ending with a fourth quarter blow out.
The fact that Jayson Mercado (26 points) and John Cornito (21 points) accounted for less than half of Paints total only demonstrates how fruitful it was on the court for the rest.
Emperors, meanwhile, touched their regal best in their 77-74 win over Mekong Tigers, who suffered their first defeat this season.
The Emperors bounced back from last week’s loss to Smart Dragons to end the Tigers’ four-game winning run. It was an exceptional sight on the court to see both teams in white uniforms thanks to a mix up on the part of the Emperors, but they ensured in the end that the white flag of surrender would be waved by their rivals in this all-Cambodian encounter.
After the first five minutes, Emperors led 13-0 as the Tigers struggled to hit their normal rhythm. The quarter itself ended in a disaster for the Tigers, who were not only 12 points behind but also short of their highest scorer of the season, Sok Samnang, after his fifth foul.
Though the Tigers fared marginally better in the second quarter, they still trailed by 17 points at the break with Hour Pichbounchour and Ken Vengngoun scoring baskets freely under the rim for the Emperors.
With Pheng Darath leading the charge, the Tigers closed the gap to five points at the end of the third quarter as the intensity on the court grew by the minute and every basket was hotly contested.
It was a test of nerves for both sides as Emperors tried to build on that slender lead and the Tigers desperate to get on level terms. Kim Vengngoun and Por Vannith gave Emperors an 11-point lead with five minutes of play left.
A three-pointer from Pheng Dharith at this stage held out hope for the Tigers and he continued to keep it alive when he helped his side draw level at 73 with just over a minute left.
In those frenzied moments, Emperors nosed ahead with a Kim Vengngoun free throw and a clutch of fouls from the Tigers led to more. Emperors managed to click with two free throws for a three-point lead, which meant that the roaring Tigers had finally been silenced.