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Cambodian basketball fightback falls short as SEA Games hot up

Cambodian athletes and officials attend the opening ceremony of the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
Cambodian athletes and officials attend the opening ceremony of the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. Adek Berry/AFP

Cambodian basketball fightback falls short as SEA Games hot up

A strong second half fightback from Cambodia was not enough to prevent Vietnam from winning their men’s basketball group game 95-90 at the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

In a thriller from tip-off to time at the MABA Stadium yesterday, Cambodia battled back from a 40-48 first-half deficit through Sophoeun Toun, Dominic Dar and Sopheen Toun to come within a couple of baskets with 30 seconds left.

But Vietnam’s Dinh Thanh Tam drove in to nail a crucial basket before the buzzer to ensure his side’s first win after their loss on Sunday to Indonesia.

In contrast to the first game when they dominated the opening stanza against Singapore, the trend was in reverse for the Cambodians.

Though missing key players ruled ineligible, Vietnam had the better of the first-half exchanges, though inspiring displays by Sopheen (24 points) and Dar (16) kept Cambodia within striking distance.

At half-time Vietnam’s dominance inside the paint was evident. Nguyen Van Hung (19 points) and Dinh Thanh Tam (26 points) bullied their way to some quick baskets although Sophoeun and Wiliam Em drained a couple of 3-pointers to keep the contest close at 48-40.

Cambodia stepped up the tempo early in the second session, nailing a couple of downtown 3-pointers.

At the other end, Vietnam were in no mood to relent, Nguyen Phu Hoang (24) combining well with Dinh Thanh Tam to keep Vietnam in front by a slender three points with 30 seconds until the final buzzer.

Petanque players push on
Then came a glorious chance for Cambodia to level when Pek Mith’s drive won a foul. His attempt from the free-throw line was worth just one point before Dinh Thanh Tam sunk the basket that put the game beyond Cambodia.

With two defeats from two, Cambodia play Laos in Game 3 at 8am Cambodian time today.

In Cambodia’s push for a clutch of medals in petanque, the Kingdom’s hopes began in earnest yesterday as Sok Chan and Un Sraya made it to the women’s singles semifinals.

Sok Chan blanked her Philippine opponent 13-0, while Sraya had to work harder for her 13-9 win over her Malaysian rival.

Both will continue their medal quests today.Boxer Nat Siek Nin stormed into the semifinals of the 56kg category after getting past his Singaporean rival. In the 84kg division, Cambodia’s Felix Marlin went down to his Philippine opponent.

All three Cambodian boxers entering the ring on Sunday were beaten.Phal Sophon was overwhelmed by his Thai rival in the 64kg category, while compatriot Nat Siek lost to a Lao fighter in the 56kg class. Hang Ramon went down at 49kg to his Vietnamese opponent.

Meanwhile, Cambodia’s lone competitor in gymnastics Sam Rim was eliminated in the first round after finishing with a score of 11.900 to rank 20th. The top eight from the event made it to the quarterfinals.
In the floor exercise, Sam Rin finished with 12.735 on the vault for a ranking of 13th.

The Kindom’s triathlon duo of Neang Pichpiseth and Chhun Bunthon crashed out of the men’s event yesterday morning.

Vietnam cycling gold
Fencers Khim Samren and Thong Tangchin were eliminated in the first round robin in the sabre event and ended up ranked 15th and 16th respectively.

In road cycling, Heng Sivlang finished sixth out of 13 cyclists in the women’s 35km criterium with a time of 1 hour, 2 minutes and 9 seconds.

The gold went to Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi in 1:00.08, with Malaysia’s Som Mey winning silver in 1:00:09. Thailand’s Maneephan Julithip picked up bronze with a time of 1:02:08.

Cambodian table tennis hopeful Lim Sok Long was beaten in straight sets by his Thai rival in the singles, while the doubles pairing of Samnang Viraboth and Souen Tola lost 3-0 to their Indonesian opponents.

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