Sabay Salty Crabs’ Sean Looney (C) comes under pressure from Mobitel Warriors XG players during their Cambodia Basketball Challenge game at Beeline Arena. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post
It may well get physical around the basket when Sabay Salty Crabs and Team Sharky clash in tomorrow’s showpiece action at the Beeline Arena, as the Cambodia Basketball Challenge, presented by Banzai and Sabay, rolls into its fourth week of competition.
The Crabs remain the only unbeaten side, covering up their inconsistent offence at times with robust interior defence, holding opponents to around 40 points in all three previous games.
The Crabs’ starting line-up has looked formidable and the bench quite sound and supportive, but the team admits that this will be their sternest test of strength so far.
At the other end, Team Sharky, who beat the buzzer to force an extra-time period they went on to win against Raid-Alaxan FR last week are buoyant and again will be looking for the perimeter shooting success of Colin Meyn and midrange support from Jeff Kane.
Big guns will be hard at work under the rim in what both sides regard as a lively contest which could throw up intense moments at either end.
The Crabs lean heavily on Sean Looney and Kim Veng Ngoun to combat the reach and rebounding of Team Sharky’s Curran Hendry and Meyn, and the two pairs could well dictate the tempo of the contest.
Kenneth Kim, CBC commissioner and one of the Crabs’ front-liners, believes the point guard factor will play a decis-ive role in this game.
“I say this because of what our point guard, Eng Eavhai, brings to the court. He is an explosive, game-changing attack guard whom Team Sharky have no one to match up with.
“I also feel that want of a true point guard could be Team Sharky’s Achilles heel,” Kim told the Post yesterday.
‘’Both teams are physical and can go off on offensive spurts. This game can boil down to which team can stay calm when the other makes their run — and, of course, who can hit the big shots.”
A big question tomorrow will be whether Team Sharky’s core players can hold their own and take the battle to the other side. The Crabs, meanwhile, are confident that their solid defence mechanism and their ability to rack up long-distance baskets through Monh Ratana, Im Pronita and Ma Kao will help them keep their unbeaten record intact.
Phnom Penh Dragons, fresh from their first win last week, open tomorrow’s four-game program with a clash against an equally matched side in HTPS Mike’s Burger Knights.
Sela Meas, as the only all-Cambodian team, is attracting huge local following. The side hit big strides last week, averaging a little over 20 points in each of the four quarters, which no other team has so far achieved. Expectations of another prolific showing are high when Sela Meas take on CCPL Heat.
In the last game of the day, Raid-Alaxan FR, caught and passed by Team Sharky in overtime last time out, get a chance to redeem themselves in a match-up against Mobitel XG Warriors.
One of the quirks of that Raid Alaxan defeat was that their spearhead, Aimar Sabayo, who scored all of the side’s 18 points in the second half, went scoreless in extra time. Sabayo and Raid-Alaxan will be looking for a positive turn-around.
At Beeline Arena on Chhroy Changvar peninsula
- Phnom Penh Dragons v HTPS Mike’s Burger Knights – 1pm
- Team Sharky v Sabay Salty Crabs – 2:15pm
- CCPL Heat v Sela Meas 3:30pm
- Mobitel XG Warriors v Raid-Alaxan FR – 4:45pm
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]