The form book was turned upside down in the Angkor Beer Cambodian Basketball League on Saturday at the Olympic Stadium Indoor Arena as a youthful NSK Dream, desperate to grab a place in the playoffs, upset the table-topping Pate 310 with a frenetic 60-58 overtime win.
The ninth-ranked Dream, who were just below the eight-team cutoff for the next phase when they took the court, nearly sealed a win moments before regulation time ended, when they scored with the game tied at 52. But that basket was disallowed for a foul called before the shot was taken.
In the ensuing extra period, Pate had their snout in front briefly before the man of the hour, Phorn Rithysak, who had led the Dream onslaught all the way, produced crucial baskets to make sure that his side’s hope of making it to the postseason was kept alive.
With Kim Ran scoring the first four points and Sok Tour one in overtime, Pate led by five but Rithysak responded with two free throw conversions and two drive-in baskets to give Dream a one-point lead with 20 seconds to play.
When Pate fouled Rithysak to stop the clock, he sank one more from the foul line but Ouch Phanat could make nothing out of the possession for the table toppers.
Earlier in the game, Dream had caught Pate by surprise with their intense defense in the first quarter. Though Pate came out of the session even at 18, by half time they still trailed by six points.
A hard-fought third quarter saw Dream grimly hold on to their lead, which Pate managed to cut it down to five.
Dream had the initiative for most of the final quarter, but inside the last 60 seconds, Pate drew level following Adam Tayyaba’s basket and bonus free throw. But what the side had not reckoned at the time was Rithysak’s impending final punch.
Splash of Paints
Davies Paints maintained their rich vein of form by beating the Mekong Tigers 82-76 in the day’s second fixture. While the Paints ticked off their sixth straight win after their opening round loss to the Emperors, the Tigers tasted their third defeat after winning the first four games of the season.
Tigers stayed ahead in the first three quarters, though their half time lead of four points trickled down to just one at the beginning of the final 10 minutes of the contest. It was obvious that the Tigers were losing momentum just as the Paints were working their way up.
It came as no surprise that Janno Cunanan and Aimar Sabayo, two players who have considerably bolstered the Paints firepower, got going after Jason Mercado’s three-pointer had tied the scores at 62.
Several turnovers on the top of lead scorer Sok Samnang returning to the bench with cramps two minutes from time added to Tigers’ misery after Cunanan had come up with two lay-ups in a row and Sabayo chipped in with a nice basket to give Paints a winning lead.
NSK Dream 60 (Phorn Rithysak 24, Bo Sochetra 10, Chanchan Borey 8)
Pate 310 58 (Sok Tour 16 , Ouch Phanat 8 , Taing Pengkuy 7)
Davies Paints 82 (Aimar Sabayo 26, Janno Cunanan 18, John Cornito 13)
Mekong Tigers 76 (Sok Samnang 31, Seath Socheat 16, Pheng Darath 14)