For Smart Dragons it was a case of history repeating itself in painful detail as they went down 57-49 to Pate 310 after leading by 10 points at one stage in the first game of their quarter-final playoff of the Angkor Beer Cambodian Basketball League at the Olympic Stadium Indoor Arena on Sunday.
In the second fixture of the day, the Mekong Tigers had it easy 78-58 just like their previous league meeting against the Extra Joss Fighters as Sok Samnang led the victory charge with a personal contribution of 25 points.
By the halfway stage, the Dragons seemed well on course to avenge their previous defeat as they led 28-18, keeping Pate on a tight leash.
But early in the third quarter, Adam Tayyaba combined well with Kim Ran and Ouch Phanat to bridge the gap to six points as the Dragons were clearly struggling to score on the set offence and not making much of fast break chances either.
Having lost the momentum, the Dragons began to falter and even run out of legs in the final quarter, allowing Pate a free run. Sok Tour came into his own and Tayyaba and Phanat were making merry with turnovers. In quick time, Pate caught up with the Dragons at 46 and then sped away in the closing stages.
The Tigers asserted themselves in the first quarter through Pheng Darath, who hit three baskets from the three-point line to give his side a big lead. Five minutes into the second quarter the Tigers had a 29-15 advantage.
The Fighters began to claw their way back with Stephen Siruma hitting the straps well. But Pheng Darath once again ensured that his perimeter shooting was on target to give his side a 37-25 half-time lead.
While the Tigers doubled up on the Fighters’ sharpshooter Siruma, keeping him firmly under control, the all-Cambodian side also steadily kept the score-board ticking.
In the first set of playoff matches played on Saturday, Davies Paints defeated CCPL Warriors while Sabay Tiger Mosquitoes went one up on the Emperors.
The same match schedule for the second games of the series holds good for this weekend.
Pate 310 57 (Ouch Phanat 20 points, Kim Ran 17, Sok Tour 14)
Smart Dragons 49 (Hon Wei Chan 14, Leng Seng 12, Ben Laird 8)
Mekong Tigers 78 (Sok Samnang 25, Pheng Darath 21, Hong Kidom 8)
Extra Joss Fighters 58 (Stephen Siruma 17, Joseph Cortez 12, Edmer Pansoy 9)