Davies Paints’ match-up with Smart Dragons is the pick of the three games carded for Sunday at the Olympic Stadium Indoor Arena as the Angkor Beer Cambodian Basketball League resumes after a two-week break.
The Paints and the Dragons are the only two teams this season to crack the triple-digit mark and those high scoring wins in the run up to this key contest suggest the prospects of some fast moving traffic on the court.
Paints are the remake of last year’s title winning Patriots, who did the honours without defeat. But things have not been so rosy at the start of this term for Paints who lost to Emperors and had to stretch every muscle and sinew before beating Pate by a mere three points.
Every team in the roster has been beaten, which serves to demonstrate that the temperature is shooting up in the top half of the standings.
Paints manager Chris Borja has to pull out some bright shades from his collection when it comes to rotation of his players. Currently fourth in the table, the side will be leaning heavily on Janno Cunanan and Airmar Sabayo for both speed and stability.
The Dragons were touched off in the last few seconds of the game by Pate two weeks ago, that after taking a seven-point lead into the final quarter. That defeat still rankles but the Dragons are eager to move on.
Of crucial importance to the Dragons game plan is the trio of Leng Seng, Chhim Taingyou and Ben Laird finding shooting spots from outside. Gabrielle Castaldo and Chhim Chandara will possibly go after the rebounds. Dragons have a healthy respect for their rivals as one of the heavyweights in the business, much as the Paints regard Dragons as a team that cannot be taken lightly.
Sabay Tiger Mosquitoes and CCPL Warriors face off in the morning fixture with more or less the same track record of one win in four games. They also share a common failing in that the team chemistry is just not getting better for both sides.
Since Mosquitoes and Warriors are eighth and ninth in the rankings, a loss would most certainly trigger play-off anxieties.
Warriors driving force is likely to be Sovann Panha, who will feel a lot better with Vince Del Mundo back to support him. Mosquitoes on the other hand are banking on the return of Jay Roden to prop up Geoff Harry and Steve Chunn, who can assert themselves with their size advantage inside the paint.
One of the top fancies for the title, Emperors face the youngest bunch in the basketball competition, NSK Dream in what could well be a mismatch of sorts as far as the form book goes. Emperors, who dealt the then-unbeaten Mekong Tigers their first defeat, are rolling along at a nice clip with Monh Ratana and his team-mates striking a good balance both in attack and defense.
Hour Pichbounchour and Kim Vengngoun are sticking up very well under the rim and the Emperors combined play will likely be too big a challenge for NSK Dream to handle.
It could be a litmus test for Dream youngsters Phorn Rithysak and Chanchan Borey when it comes to containing Por Vannith and Monh Ratana’s skills in perimetre shooting.
Sabay Tiger Mosquitoes v CCPL Warriors – 9:30am
NSK Dream v Emperors – 2pm
Davies Paints v Smart Dragons – 4pm