It took a late swoop by Pate 310 to pip Smart Dragons at the post 61-59 on Sunday in a key Angkor Beer Cambodian Basketball League match that was marred by some poor officiating by the referees.
Four Dragons players were fouled out of the game in the fourth quarter as the side came up on the wrong side of the ledger in an incredibly high number of infringements called by the officials at the Olympic Stadium Indoor Arena.
Though the Dragons were dealt a better hand going into fourth quarter with a seven-point advantage, the loss of Leng Seng, Jordan Bregen, Chhim Taingyou and Noun Vath Sothearith in quick succession tipped the balance in favour of Pate.
Mounting Dragons fouls meant that Pate players were often behind the free throw line, from where they could close the gap bit by bit.
Pate eked out 12 points from 22 free throws in the last quarter to be abreast of the Dragons at 59-all with just 30 seconds left on the clock. At this critical juncture came Pat Ty’s foul on Ouch Phanat, who promptly sunk the free throws to give his side the winning lead.
With eight seconds left, Dragons took time out to set up Gabriele Castaldo for a decision shot but that gamble to equalise failed.
For Pate, Sok Tour top-scored with 26 points and found an able ally in Ouch Phanat, who was second best with 11 points. For Dragons, Castaldo scored 14 points and Ben Laird 12.
As widely expected, Extra Joss Fighters rolled over the only non-winners so far GL Concrete 93-49 in the day’s second fixture.
The Fighters had good reasons to be optimistic of a strong show following their victories over NSK Dream and Sabay Tiger Mosquitoes. They were off to a flying start and never quite slackened their hold as Stephen Surima set a pace that was too hot for Concrete to handle.
The Filipino star is proving to be a game changer for the Fighters, who have now recovered from a tardy beginning. Surima, who missed the first two games, headed the scoresheet for his team with 30 points.
Tang Kinh Chhung also had a good day on the court scoring 13 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Ran Noren’s 16 points was the best effort for Concrete, who had lost all their previous games on an average of 35 points, a stat that got even worse after this loss.