Davies Paints put the Smart Dragons out of stride with a slew of fast breaks in a 88-62 victory as the Angkor Beer Cambodian Basketball League, co-sponsored by Pepsi and Smart, rolled out a three-game card at the Olympic Stadium Indoor Arena on Sunday.
The Dragons were caught off guard by the furious pace the Paints set in the first quarter and were forced to try to play catch up for the rest of the game. Only once in the whole contest did the Dragons manage to draw level, and that was at 22 in the second quarter.
The Filipino triumvirate of Janno Cunnan, Aimar Sabayo and John Cornito made a habit of tearing down the inside court and leaving the Dragons’ defence in tatters, and by half-time the Paints had a 12-point lead.
Paints manager Chris Borja took Cunnan and Sabayo out of action at the beginning of the third quarter to give them some rest. That offered Dragons their best chance to bridge the divide.
But despite a size advantage, the Dragons kept missing easy buckets under the rim, with only Hon Hai Chan making a go of it.
The Dragons seemed completely out of sorts in the final quarter, undone by the Paints’ fast breaks and their own poor marksmanship.
In the day’s first fixture, CCPL Warriors swatted out the Sabay Tiger Mosquitoes 73-57 in a game where both sides, having lost three games out of four, were under pressure to fight for a shot at the playoffs.
Troubled by injury worries over several players, including top scorers like Jay Rodden and Geoff Harry, the Mosquitoes showed up with just seven players. The Warriors, in contrast, were back to full strength with the return of Vince Delmondo, adding another attacking layer.
The Warriors jumped to a seven-point lead after the first quarter but the Mosquitoes were served well by Steve Chunn and Keith Kelly, who used their size to make some good inside shots. The Warriors crossed over with a narrow 35-31 lead.
Sovann Panha and Jeff Cruz stepped up the scoring for the Warriors to stretch the lead out to 10 points, but once they slowed down, Chunn and Kelly were back to pull the Mosquitoes to within two regulation baskets.
With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Mosquitoes suffered a huge setback when Kelly was called out for his fifth foul. As he left the court, Kenneth Kim scored two baskets in a row to make it a nine-point game.
The Warriors seemed to be in a punishing mood and they skipped away to a 16-point win.
Fresh from beating the well-rounded Mekong Tigers, the Emperors were expected to roll over young NSK Dream, but last season’s runners-up were forced to dig deep into their reserves before winning 50-42 in the third game of the day.
Surprisingly enough, NSK Dream took a five-point lead in the first quarter only to see the Emperors overtake them by half time.
The young outfit, ranked seventh going into this game, showed great resolution in the last quarter to get up to within a point of one of the hot contenders for the title at 39-40, with five minutes left on the clock.
It was then that Emperors captain Monh Ratana played out his role, taking the ball from his end all the way to the other and sink a three-pointer. The Emperors quickly added a few more to the tally.
CCPL Warriors 73 (Vince Del Mundo 13, Fred Babida 12, Sovann Panha 10) Sabay Tiger Mosquitoes 57 (Steve Chunn 26 , Keith Kelly 13, Larry Ng 7 )
Emperors 50 (Kim Vengngoun 11, Chao Prohors 10) NSK Dream 42 ( Teav Kean An 11 , Chanchan Borey 11)
Davies Paints 88 (Janno Cunanan 18, Aimar Sabayo 17, John Cornito 13) Smart Dragons 62 (Ben Laird 17 ,Gabriele Castaldo 14, Leng Seng 8)