In an exciting finish that stretched right down to the wire, Extra Joss Warriors nudged out Post Buffaloes 57-53 in a Cambodian Basketball League encounter at the Beeline Arena on Saturday.
It was a see-sawing battle all along with the lead changing hands frequently, but poor field goal scoring rates from both sides led to a mad rush in the last few minutes of the final quarter.
With a minute to go, the Buffaloes lost the ball twice in succession and, as if to punish them for those errors, Fred Babida produced two lay ups to give the Warriors a decisive advantage.
Yet, it wasn’t all lost for the Buffaloes even at that late stage.
Tino Pheng was fouled on his three-point attempt. The ball went in and the basket was counted. Pheng also clicked with a bonus free throw and the Buffaloes were as close as 53-54 with 30 seconds left on the clock.
The full court press that the Buffaloes deployed got them a steal and set up Johnny Lim for a jump shot. He missed and so did the Buffaloes.
In a wild attempt to stop the clock, Jay Roden committed a rather unsportsman-like foul which resulted in the Warriors getting two free throws and ball possession.
Both turned good for the Warriors as Joshua Schmitz turned in one of the free throws and Fred Babida scored the final basket to ensure the Warriors victory.
With 23 points to his credit, Fred Babida was the Warriors top scorer, while Joshua Schmitz chipped in with nine. Kosal Khiev (18) and Jay Roden (15) were the Buffaloes leading scorers.
“The team hasn’t been training together for several weeks and we still need to find the chemistry,” Warriors manager Jonjon Naval told the Post.
“What made the difference in the final minutes of the game were mistakes made by Buffaloes. We were lucky.”
In the opening game of the day, Alaxan FR Patriots scored a blowout 88-52 victory over Pate 310, comprehensively winning with size and their fight against speed.
Game experience and tempo set by the leading Patriots trio of Aimar Sabayo (15), Colin Meyn (14) and John Cornito (13) had a marked impact on the outcome. Dexter Arcenas also propped up Patriots with 12 points. Sok Tour seemingly fought a lone battle with 25 points for Pate.
The all-Chinese Galaxy presented themselves with a limited line-up of just seven players, but more significantly their previous game star Kelvin Chan was also missing. That opened up the game for NSK Dream, who came away with a 65-43 victory.
Sok Pagna led the NSK charge with 27 points even as the side let bench players take the court in the final quarter. Chim Chandara’s 11 was the second best contribution.
For Galaxy, Zheng Chen top scored with 14 points.