The in-form Phnom Penh Dragons will be eager to climb over the Extra Joss Warriors in the rankings table when the two sides clash at the Beeline Arena on Sunday in the Cambodian Basketball League sponsored by Western Union and Coca-Cola.
Last Saturday’s games were put off due to some extraneous circumstances prompting a switch to Sunday action for the first time this season.
The only game that has been retained from the previous card is the one between the Dragons and Warriors, while the other three match-ups have been changed.
Going into this tight game with three wins in the last three outings, the Dragons attacking edge has been sharpened by the return to the line-up of the consistent Ben Laird, who missed his team’s comfortable win over the Post Buffaloes three weeks ago.
After two successive defeats, the Warriors found their bearings with a win over lowly Galaxy, who threw a scare at one stage by getting as close as one basket in the third quarter before being swamped in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors fortunes normally swing with the performances of Ley Denetrosa and Fred Babida and the side will be looking for a solid show from this pair.
A typical size versus speed battle is on the cards when Cellcard Eagles take on Pate 310. The two currently occupy the seventh and eight spots in the rankings and play-off consolidation will be uppermost in the minds of both sides.
The Eagles may well control the rebounds with some tall Australians in the line-up expected to do most of the pouching. The Eagles are feared for their tight zone defence and Pate may find this fencing hard to crash.
In a game that will have a direct bearing on the third and fourth positions in the standings, Sela Meas and CCPL Heat take centre stage in what could easily be the toughest encounter of the day.
Both have chalked up four wins each so far, though Heat have played a game less than their rivals. While Panha Sovann is expected to boost Heat scoring, the side will be bidding farewell to Spaniard Salva Butsaman, who is almost certain to leave Cambodia soon.
Despite suffering their only defeat at the hands of the hitherto unbeaten Alaxan FR Patriots, IRB the Lord are still among strong market fancies for the title.
This twilight fixture for The Lord against Ganzberg, ranked as low as ninth, could well be easy picking if some of the key players like Phanat Ouch, Monh Ratanak and Kim Vengoun hit the right notes.
With four losses weighing heavily on them, Ganzberg may do their best to wriggle out of the danger zone they find themselves in. If there is one team desperate to sneak into the play-off scene it is Ganzberg since they are just a notch below that red line.
But the good news for Ganzberg is that they play another team with deserting form, NSK Dream tonight so that they can put on some useful miles for their more demanding fixture against The Lord two days later.
Friday September 13
Ganzberg v NSK Dream 8pm
Sunday September 15
Phnom Penh Dragons v Extra Joss Warriors – 10am
Pate 310 v Cellcard Eagles 2pm
Sela Meas v CCPL Heat 4pm
IRB The Lord v Ganzberg 6pm