Unextended and untroubled for most of the season, Alaxan FR Patriots for the first time had to overcome some early anxieties before regaining their composure to beat CCPL Heat 70-48 in the first semi-final of the inaugural Cambodian Basketball League at the Beeline Arena late on Tuesday evening.
The Patriots face the winners of the IRB The Lord-Sela Meas match-up in the Championship game on Saturday.
The first half was marked by tight zone defence at both ends and neither could offensively make much ground. Heat started to grate the grooves better than the Patriots and went into the break 27-23. Patriots had hardly been in a situation like that before and the Heat players were clearly sensing a kill.
However, in their typical style, the Patriots pushed back in the third quarter stitching up an amazing 24-7 sequence and the outcome of the game had been decided. Two of the Patriots’ well-known assets this season – size and accuracy – had again played a key role in helping the side rebound from a somewhat scrappy start.
Sadly, though, the contest was marred by an unsavoury incident of “unsportsman-like behaviour” in the second half involving the Patriots Curran Hendry and the Heat’s Sin Davuth.
According to the organisers, the Technical Committee of the CBL will take up the issue of punitive action against the two errant players, though the decision may not be made before the November 30 final. Any punishment handed out to the players will take effect in the 2014 season.
Patriots 70 (Aimar Sabayo 27, John Cornito 9)
CCPL Heat 48 (Sovann Panha 19, Kim Ran 12)