Reaching the top is a lot easier than staying there. Unbeaten in their last six outings, Alaxan FR Patriots may well remember this harsh reality when they take on an all-fired-up Sela Meas at the Beeline Arena tomorrow in the Cambodian Basketball League sponsored by Western Union and Coca Cola.
As the top-ranked team with half of the season gone, the Patriots are the obvious prime targets for every side they line up against. They have to bring out their best every time they are on court and so far they have been doing that with great gusto.
There were moments of anxiety for the Patriots last week when they crossed paths with the second favourites for the title, IRB The Lord. But Aimar Sabayo’s versatile display got them through to a victory that was far more convincing in the end than the margin suggested.
The Patriots may find Sela Meas an equally harsh proposition and will have to be in their best form to deal with the purely Cambodian combination, which counts reputation-bashing as one of its traits.
Sela Meas are endowed with the strength and skill that could trouble the best in the business, and if the team succeeds in getting its act together on the day, the Patriots may have some hard time on court.
The top-ranked side will have to be on the look out for baskets coming from behind the perimeter, an area of Sela Meas forte, while keeping their own aggressive stream flowing.
First up at 10am tomorrow morning, Extra Joss Warriors have a relatively easy task of playing the all-Chinese Galaxy, a side that is completely out of depth right now. Despite the impressive stats that he has put in, one Kelvin Chan is just not enough to make Galaxy more competitive than they are.
Against a well balanced side that has the added incentive of height like the Warriors, Galaxy will probably find the going real tough.
The Warriors may find this easy picking to turn around two successive defeats unless they allow these reverses to prey on their minds and let Galaxy take advantage of that.
The teams ranked ninth and tenth – Pate 310 and NSK Dream – will be locked in a fight that could well determine their futures in the league this season. The winner will stay in the hunt for a play-off slot, while the loser may be a step closer to packing up.
An interesting aside to this game is the individual rivalry between Pate’s Sok Tour and Dream’s Samnang Sok.
In tomorrow’s final game, a high stakes battle is on the cards when Ganzberg take to the court against Cellcard Eagles.
Credited with the second best offence among the 12 teams in the league, Ganzberg has showcased some great combinations involving Jeff Cruz and Sander David. The team has managed to post an average of 68 points per game, and if they can reproduce that progression, the Eagles could be in hot water.
But can the Eagles’ reputed tight zone defence keep Ganzberg at bay? Therein lies the key to the success of either team.
Galaxy v Extra Joss Warriors – 10am
Pate 310 v NSK Dream – 2pm
Sela Meas v Alaxan FR Patriots – 4pm
Ganzberg v Cellcard Eagles – 6pm