Alaxan FR Patriots notched their seventh straight victory, elegantly taking the all-Cambodian Sela Meas in their stride 66-63 at the Beeline Arena on Saturday in the Cambodian Basketball League sponsored by Western Union and Coca-Cola.
Coming out of a tight first quarter, three points behind Sela Meas, the Patriots virtually pitched the tent in their rivals half and posted a 25-8 turn-around to grab a 14-point first half lead.
If Aimar Sabayo (24 points) and Dexter Arcenas (18 points) took charge of the scoring, Nigel Doughan and Curran Hendry held the Patriots paint so tight that Sela Meas could hardly find baskets.
But once the Patriots slowed down the offensive tempo in the second session, presuming that they had the game in their bag, Sela Meas sensed a possible comeback and began to whittle the lead down.
With a few seconds to go, Sela Meas got to within a three-point basket of forcing extra-time, but Chao Prohors missed that life line and Patriots were safely home.
Peng Dara (24 points) and Sok Samnang (15) came out best for Sela Meas, who can take some comfort in the fact that they had run the Patriots closer than any of the other six teams before them.
In other action, Cellcard Eagles nosed out Ganzberg 62-61 in an exciting finish. Circumstances were a bit strange when the players took the court. Eagles showed up with just six and the Ganzberg roster had 11.
The all-Filipino side were quick to seize this advantage by playing a zone press and a setting a fast pace in the hope of tiring out the Eagles’ tall players.
This strategy didn’t work the way Ganzberg had hoped, or at least not for long as the Eagles put their height advantage to good use in dominating the rebounds.
Despite their best efforts, Ganzberg were unable to open up a gap on their opponents, who could still go toe-to-toe with a near non-existent bench.
With eight seconds to go, the game was dead even at 61 each, but the Eagles had possession. As was to be expected they took a time out, charged in for the offence with Geoff Harry eliciting a foul.
Four seconds to play and two free throws to shoot, Harry got one right and that was enough to give Eagles a breathtaking win, their third in seven games.
Harry was not only the man of the moment but was also the Eagles top scorer with 26 points. Keith Kelly was next best with 13. For Ganzberg Jeff Cruz 20 and Chavez 15 performed well.
For the first time, Galaxy showed up with a full line up, something that hadn’t happened with the side for a long time. Yet the all-Chinese side could not contain Extra Joss Warriors, who recorded a comfortable 83-68 victory.
In the first three minutes of play the Warriors had shot to a 10-0 lead and omens of a blow out were there for the Galaxy to see.
But gradually the Warriors got stuck in slow traffic forced on them by Galaxy, allowing too many turnovers for the team to make good.
The Warriors were clearly taken aback by the swiftly changing patterns, leading by just two points in the third quarter. But they gathered themselves through Ken Gadaffi, whose blocks, rebounds and baskets killed Galaxy hopes.
The star of the Galaxy show was inevitably Kelvin Chan with 29 points. For the winners, Ley Denestrosa’s 20 points, Fred Babida’s 17 and Gadaffi’s 11 showed out.
In a dominant display, Pate 310 proved too wily and strong for NSK Dream in a 71-50 victory. Pate maintained an impressive scoring rate from around the perimeter while employing a narrow zone defence to throttle Dream players from touching the paint.
Pate got going with six consecutive three-pointers in the second quarter.
It was a hot contest for a play-off seat and the victory pushed Pate to eighth in the rankings, the cut off for the next phase with four matches still to play.
The consistent Sok Tour was on the mark for Pate with 23 points. He was well assisted by Taing Peng Kuy 18 points. For Dream, Chin Chandara and Meas Pich scored 11 points each.