In a nerve-jangling finish, Mekong Tigers touched off Pate 310 in the dying moments of the game to go one up on the title holders in the first game of the Cambodia Basketball League semifinal playoffs at the Olympic Stadium indoor arena on Saturday.
After dead even 42 at the end of the third quarter, the Tigers kept charging at their rivals with renewed energy on the floor and with seconds to go until the buzzer kept their nerve and a slender lead to win 59-56.
The second of the three game series will be played at the same venue on August 22.
In the other semifinal, Davies Megacryl, last season’s runners-up behind Pate, defeated Extra Joss Fighers 93-84 in a game of swiftly changing patterns.
Though Megacryl were sitting pretty at half time with a seven-point lead, a strong third quarter showing by the Fighters appeared to change the course of the contest.
The Fighters, took a four-point lead into the final quarter at 63-59, having enjoyed a good run of 19-8.
However, Megacryl saw their core players combine well to keep the baskets ticking at the same time robustly guarding their own defence zone.
While Megacryl will be eager to wrap up the series next Saturday, the narrow defeat has made the Fighters more determined to take the battle all the way to the decider.