Malaysia maintained their 100% run in the 4th China Asean Invitational Basketball Tournament by piping China Guangxi 74-72 to emerge champions in the finals played on Monday night in front of over 5000 fans.
Malaysia dispatched Myanmar, Singapore, China Pingguo, Laos and Hong Kong in the group stage. They went on to trash Chinese Taipei who finished runners up in group B 95- 80 to reach the Finals.
In the finals, they met a stiff resistance from China Guangxi and the tie could have gone either way but in the end Malaysia prevailed 74-72 to win the 11 team Tournament.
Meanwhile, Cambodia found themselves dropping from a possible 4th place finish to earn a 7th place finish winning an evenly contested tie against Macao by 70-69.
Macao a familiar foe whom Cambodia met in their first group game proved to be a tough nut to crack in the game played on Monday as they gave Cambodia a run for their money.
Swedish Cambodian born import, Boroth Thach goes for an aerial ball with a Macao player. Cambodia won by just a point in the end
Unlike the first game which Macao lost 77-55 , the 7th/8th position playoff was so close that Cambodia could only endure a point win over the Chinese controlled Island.
Both teams started in a slow tempo as it was evident that the players have endured a tiring one week of intense basketball having played 5 games on the trot and the first quarter ended 16-14 in favor of Cambodia with Pek Mith coming off good with 13 points.
In the second quarter Cambodia extended the lead as Sopoeun Ouen playing as Center and Pek mith operating as Shooting guard combined well with Point Guard Boroth Thach to the admiration of the over 2000 Capacity Crowd at the Pingguos sports complex in Nanning, China. Cambodia went into the break leading 36- 27.
Macao fought back fiercely in the third quarter with Liu Xie Ming providing a great threat to Cambodia with his long range shots making treble 3 points throw to reduce Cambodia’s lead to 10 points going into the last quarter.
In the fourth Quarter, with Scores at 60-50 to Cambodia’s advantage, Macao came out firing on all cylinders as the Cambodian quintet tire out. Coach Lar Pich had to bring on recuperating Monh Putratana to help as victory was gradually slipping away from Cambodia.
Pek Mith shoots in Cambodia's last game against Macao. The US based player finished the tie with 30 points to emerge top scorer for the Cambodia side in the tie.
With 1:40min on the clock, the score board read 68-64 in favour or Cambodia and one would expect Cambodia to hold out but Macao wouldn’t let go. As Sopouen Ouen, Pek Mith and Boroth kept on inspiring the Cambodians Liu Xie Minh powered home another treble 3 points to close the gap further to 69-69 before Pek Mith’s Late surge gave the Kingdom victory finishing 70-69 to the hooter.
With the Victory, Cambodia thus finished 7th and will take the positives from the tournament as they prepare for the SEA games in Indonesia.
“It was a tough game, Macao was better than we expected but in the end we won and we go home with pride from this tournament” says leader of delegation Top Panha moments after the final whistle.
Ist Place - Malyasia
2nd Place - China Guangxi
3rd Place - Singapore
4th Place - Chinese Taipei
5th Place - China Pingguo
6th Place - China Hongkong
7th place - Cambodia
8th Place - Macao
9th Place - Vietnam
10th Place - Myanmar
11th Place - Laos