Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dragons slay Tapsi to take home Chitato trophy



Dragons slay Tapsi to take home Chitato trophy

Smart Dragons celebrate with the trophy after beating Master Tapsi to win the Chitato Chips Mini Basketball Tournament. Supplied
Smart Dragons celebrate with the trophy after beating Master Tapsi to win the Chitato Chips Mini Basketball Tournament. Supplied

Dragons slay Tapsi to take home Chitato trophy

Smart Dragons repeated the tactical nous which brought them back to life on Sunday to outwit Master Tapsi in the title decider 86-75 to win the Chitato Chips Mini Basketball Tournament.

The final of the best-of-three showdown at the Cambodian Country Club court on Wednesday night went to the last game after the Dragons drew level 1-1 to neutralise Master Tapsi’s first game win on March 21.

The Dragons continued where they left off on Sunday to once again deprive Master Tapsi of space or time on the ball, with the pair of Matt Van Pelt and Dara Rithy doing the bulk of the damage.

Ladon Buchanan, who missed Game 2, returned to sharpen the Dragons’ offence.

A 16-point game for Van Pelt and several decisive assists opened the way for Dragons to dominate their rivals, whose round robin form and first game win had made them overwhelming favourites for the title.

At the heart of Dragons success was Dara Rithy, the only Cambodian on either side, and his 20 points, which included two crucial 3-pointers, not only kept his side in front but also brought him the final’s Most Valuable Player award.

The Dragons led 18-9 after the first quarter and went into the interval with an 18-point lead (47-29)

But as was the case in the second game, Tapsi stepped up in the third stanza, with Janno Cunnanan (23) and Aimar Sabayo (32) leading the offensive to cut the deficit to 12 points.

The Dragons used their squad rotation well, with all 11 players having quality time on the court, and utilised man to man marking effectively. It resulted in eight of the players being on the score sheet – six of them with double digit scores,

Tapsi managed to get to within four points with less than two minutes to run, but the Dragons were in no mood to relent as the trio of Van Pelt, Rithy and Buchanan continued to pull off some late stunts to silence the loudly cheering Tapsi fans.

‘Tournament brought life back’

Smart Dragons were awarded the trophy and a purse of $600, while runners-up Master Tapsi received a cash prize of $300. Third placed Extra Joss Fighters received $200.

Fourth placed MSGM celebrated as lead player Hong Kwang, who averaged 22.9 points per game, was voted the MVP of the tournament.

Jeff Kane of Smart Dragons was named the best 3-point shooter following his average of 3.4 per game.

Speaking after the award ceremony, Josh Galt, a leading member of the Phnom Penh basketball community, hailed the tournament as a great success and hoped it will further invigorate the players and fans to step up and continue to organise more events.

“It was great to have this tournament. Since the last CBL in 2016, the basketball community has only been having pick-up games and so this tournament has really brought life back to the basketball community,’’ said Galt, the former manager of CBL-winning team Mekong Tigers.

Tournament director and manager of Extra Joss Fighters Oktavianus Hauw said: “We organised this tournament to bring together the basketball family and also provide a platform for Cambodian players to step up their game through competition. We hope more and more Cambodians will be involved in the future.’’

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration