Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Teams to tip off quarter-finals

Teams to tip off quarter-finals

Extra Joss Warriors (in black) and IRB The Lord players will face off in Saturday's CBL quarter-finals at Beeline Arena
Extra Joss Warriors (in black) and IRB The Lord players will face off in Saturday's CBL quarter-finals at Beeline Arena. Sreng Meng Srun

Teams to tip off quarter-finals

The end of the 19-week round-robin phase is the beginning of the final chapter of the inaugural Cambodian Basketball League, as eight teams head into the play-offs at the Beeline Arena on Saturday to determine four semi-finalists aiming for the title round on November 30.

The all-conquering Alaxan FR Patriots go out as red-hot favourites on the strength of their impeccable season record, which clearly demonstrated how none of the other teams could stand up to them.

The Patriots open the quarter-final show with a match-up against Cellcard Eagles, who surprisingly had to claw for every yard in the path to the play-offs.

What makes this encounter testy for both sides is the fact that the threat of a knockout brings out the best and worst in teams, unlike the more leisurely league games. This is where the Patriots will have to be on their guard.

As a central figure in the Patriots’ action plans, Aimar Sabayo has excelled himself while drawing admirable support from Dexter Arcenas, Colin Meyn and John Cornito. It is this quartet which has virtually put down one team after another during the league season.

After a somewhat rough and tumble season, the Eagles were relieved to grab the last chance to make this grade and are bound to use some of their known strengths to make a match of it.

Eagles are by far the tallest side in the competition which gives them a clear edge when it comes to rebounds. This is where the Eagles could trouble the Patriots the most, with Geoff Harry and Sean Looney presenting a formidable challenge.

The second-ranked IRB the Lord were talked about in the same breath as the Patriots at the start of the season though they had some of their chinks exposed in the last few games.

The Lord take on Extra Joss Warriors, whose form tapered off after a sound beginning.

Most of The Lord’s success has come from good perimeter shooting where Monh Ratana has been as reliable as he was during his days with the Cambodian national team. But Ouch Phanat has been one of the stars of the league season and the team’s fortunes could well revolve round this pair.

One area where the Warriors can assert themselves is in securing the paint, employing tall players like Josh Schmitz and Chris Bolado while pinning their hopes on Ley Denetrosa and Fred Babida to sort out offence in transitions.

Two all-Cambodian teams of near equal strength may produce the most intense contest of the day.

Amid high drama, Sela Meas defeated Pate 310 by the barest of margins in their league clash with a last second three-pointer in a nip and tip finish.

Pate, who had every reason to believe then that the victory was stolen from them, now have a chance to avenge that harrowing defeat. It would be a big surprise if this match-up doesnt get any more tough and thrilling than their previous encounter.

The consistent Sok Tour and his admirable ally Taing Peng Kuy are the ones to watch for Pate, while Sela Meas will be banking on Sok Samnang and Chea Prohors.

In the last of the day’s pair-ups, a resurgent Phnom Penh Dragons will be up against CCPL Heat.

The last time the two teams met, the Dragons could not withstand the Heat and went down 54-40. But since that meeting very early in the league season, both line-ups have significantly changed.

The Heat have lost the services of their centre Salva Butsaman and will take the floor on Saturday without their trusted shooting guard Angel. The redeeming feature for the Heat is that Panha Sovann has filled in well.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Dragons have lost two of their centres Eric Laughlin and Butch Missouri but have seen Ben Laird grow in confidence and stature.

The organisers have made a slight modification to the semi-finals schedule. The first will now be held next Tuesday and the second the following day, with the final slated for November 30.

Saturday’s Schedule
Alaxan Patriots v Cellcard Eagles 10am
IRB the Lord v Extra Joss Warriors 2pm
Sela Meas v Pate 310 – 4pm
Phnom Penh Dragons v CCPL Heat 6pm


  • Bodhisattva statue unearthed

    The Apsara National Authority technical team uncovered a sandstone statue of a Bodhisattva while carrying out excavation work at the east entrance of the Ta Nei temple on October 8. The team was trying to find the temple’s roof stone, which had fallen into a

  • Artefact is seized from American auctioneers

    Cambodian and US archaeologists on Thursday discussed the formalities and procedures of returning to Cambodia an artefact which was recently seized by US Homeland Security Investigators (HSI) from an auction house in San Francisco. On Monday, the HSI said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),

  • World Bank: Challenges facing the Kingdom

    Cambodia’s economy currently faces challenges including credit growth in the construction and real estate sectors, rising indebtedness and the possible withdrawal of the EU’s Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement, said the World Bank Group’s latest forecast report on the Asia-Pacific economies. The

  • PM visits three EU members in crunch diplomacy mission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen left for Europe on Sunday as he embarked on a five-day diplomatic visit to three EU countries, in a trip analysts have speculated could be crucial in deciding the Kingdom’s ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) fate. According to a Ministry of