On the back of their high-intensity 61-58 win over Mekong Tigers, Pate 310 emerged as the clear leaders in the Angkor Beer Cambodian Basketball League standings at the Olympic Stadium Indoor Arena on Saturday.
In the day’s second fixture, Extra Joss Fighters edged past CCPL Warriors 81-79.
The Tigers, dogged by too many missed baskets, gave away multiple fast break opportunities to Pate in the first quarter. More of the same by the Tigers in the second quarter saw Pate maintain pressure in transitions to build up a 31-23 lead at half time.
The Tigers, however, began the third quarter on a more aggressive note, cutting down the lead to just four points within one minute of play. Both sides felt the impact of growing intensity on the court as the initiative began to swing from one end to the other.
Hard-working Sok Samnang brought the Tigers to within one regulation basket of leveling the scores but Ouch Phanat worked his magic for Pate to stretch it to six points, and it was soon nine when Taing Pengkuy got his three-pointer despite being fouled.
Yet Sok Samnang again brought the Tigers back to terms and even drove his side to a narrow 45-44 lead for the first time, though Adam Tayyaba wrested it back to 46-45 for Pate just before the end of the session
With three minutes left to play in the fourth quarter, Pate had a six point advantage but a Pheng Darath three-pointer rallied the Tigers back into the game.
Pate were clinging to their slender lead even as Darath made another bold attempt from behind the perimeter with just 35 seconds left. He missed and that left the Tigers with their second straight defeat.
After a flying start, the Extra Joss Fighters were comfortably perched 43-34 at the half way stage and well into the third quarter led by as many as 16 points with Stephen Siruma and Joseph Cortez doing the bull work.
Warriors playmaker Angel Largo had to leave the court with an ankle injury but that setback seemingly motivated the side like nothing else.
With Jeff Cruz working from the perimeter, the Warriors fought back to 45-54 even as the side registered scorn over the high number of fouls called on its players by the referees, who managed to defuse tensions on the court.
The Warriors resorted to a full court press defence to get some early steals, with the Fighters resisting well enough but gradually giving up ground to their rivals.
The pressure was squarely on the Fighters when Filipino Stephen Siruma was sent out after his fifth foul. The atmosphere was explosive on the court and without their star player, the Fighters seemed completely lost.
With 30 seconds to go the Warriors had snuck up to within one point of the Fighters, who, however managed to break free after Cortez did well from the free throw line.