The 2019 Chinese Basketball Friendship Cup continued on Sunday at the Cambodian Country Club in Phnom Penh with leaders Chao Yue powering to their third straight win against Heng Ma in the early game before Hong Da edged Hua Yan in a thriller that went down to the wire.
The tournament was established after the organisers realised the extent of interest in basketball among the Kingdom’s Chinese community.
The first game was a lopsided affair as Cup favourites Chao Yue stormed to a first half lead of 48-34.
Things did not improve for Heng Ma as Chao Yue increased their lead and ran out comfortable 91-74 winners.
Chao Yue’s dominance was largely thanks to solid defence and willing passers creating great ball movement.
They also landed 50 per cent of their two-point field goals and 33 per cent from three-point range.
Heng Ma made 44 per cent of their two-point shots, but could only land two of their 18 attempts from beyond the arc.
Nathan Gan led the scoring for Chao Yue with 23 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals. Gan, a third generation Chinese-Filipino, is the youngest player in the competition at 16 years of age.
Asked about playing against older players, Gan said: “First of all I would like to thank God for allowing me to play in this league.
“Playing against older players is challenging because of the physicality. It challenges me to use my basketball IQ in different ways and to always give 110 per cent every time.”
Champ Guan Hao led Chao Yue for rebounds and assists, with 11 and 7 respectively.
In the second game of the afternoon, Hua Yan saw off Hong Da in a nail-biting battle that wasn’t settled until the final second.
The first quarter ended tied at 17-17, and the contest continued in the same vein with Hua Yan emerging victorious 78-80.
Wu Hai Lang was top scorer for Hua Yan, finishing with a whopping 38 points, and also led the team in rebounds (15) and assists (three).
Despite a lowly 31 per cent shooting rate, Hong Da managed to stay hot on the heels of Hua Yan, who shot 50 per cent from the field, but Hua Yan out-rebounded their opponents and that helped push them to victory.
The tournament continues this and every Sunday, with the matches taking place from 2pm to 6pm.