Emperors have one last chance to catch up with Davies Paints when the two teams line up at 2pm tomorrow at the Olympic Stadium Indoor Arena for the second game of their three-match semi-final playoff series in the Angkor Beer Cambodian Basketball League.
Taking a heavy toll of Emperors’ tardy opening quarter, Davies Paints closed out the first game 69-65 and are keen on driving that advantage home to clinch a spot in the second season’s final showdown with Pate 310, who made it to the title round last week with a 2-0 series victory over Mekong Tigers.
Having found themselves in a now-or-never situation, Emperors are banking on skipper Monh Ratana’s offensive capabilities and Kim Vengngoun’s speed to reverse the first-match trends.
There is one positive development Emperors can take comfort in and that is the return of point guard Bun Vannet. But at the same time there is uncertainty hanging over one of their key players, Hour Pichbounchour, who is nursing a foot injury.
Since the Paints thrive on the speed factor, coach Chris Borja is likely to set his strategy in creating fast break opportunities for his players.
The fact remains that Emperors, despite chasing the Paints most of the time in the first game, managed to contain Janno Cunanan’s fast advances and boxed in freewheeling Aimar Sabayo, who could only score 13 points.
This area obviously has been given a profound thought by the Paints camp, which is also well aware of the need to stall Kim Vengunoun’s ability to drive in.
While Emperors are desperate to cling on to a rope of survival, Paints are equally determined to turn it into a noose and kill the possibility of a decider.
The organisers of the CBL, however, are ready for both outcomes.
A win for the Paints would present them a safe passage to the final but in the event of Emperors coming out on top, the decider will be played at 2pm on Sunday.