A strong fourth-quarter push in the second game of their playoffs semi-final at the Olympic Stadium Indoor Arena on Saturday, which ended 81-69, helped Pate 310 wrap up the series 2-0 against Mekong Tigers to enter the title round of the Angkor Beer Cambodian Basketball League.
When the situation demanded, Pate spread the floor, turning in a few vital free throws and shooting an odd three-pointer to outscore the Tigers 33-21 in the last 10 minutes of the game. The first three up-and-down quarters had seen the teams locked at 48.
After all the brouhaha of the first game that ended in the Tigers forfeiting the game less than two minutes from time, eight points adrift in an angry protest over an official ruling, the team stuck to a remarkably positive approach and fought the first three spells on almost an even footing.
With Sao Samrach and Dynna Thong missing for this game, Pate manager Chea Koktry had limited options when it came to substitutions and the mercury on the court was shooting up by the minute.
A three-pointer is always a good thing to happen for a side looking for momentum and Adam Tayyaba delivered one for Pate to give them a slender advantage at the start of the fourth quarter.
Offensively, the Tigers looked superficial, not a single point to their name in four minutes of play. By the time Meas Ravuth finally broke that dry run for the Tigers, Kim Ran and Adam Tayyaba were combining well in producing some nice baskets for Pate.
As the lead for Pate kept widening, the body language of the Tigers clearly indicated that the fight in them had gone, and some of their desperate attempts in the closing stages to stop the clock with fouls only gave away more free throws to their rivals.
Pate await the winners of the other semi-final between the Emperors and Davies Paints in the title showdown set for December 6.
Davies Paints, the winners of the first season of the CBL as the Patriots, lead the Emperors 1-0 following their 69-65 win last week. The second game between these sides will be played next Saturday.