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CBL to kick off on Sunday with seven teams on board

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
Extra Joss Fighters are the defending champions in the Cambodian Basketball League. KT/Yeun Punleau

Cambodia’s biggest and most prestigious basketball tournament will be back beginning Sunday.

Austin Koledoye, the secretary-general of the Cambodia Basketball Federation (CBF), said there are seven teams that are competing in the 2020 season of the Cambodian Basketball League.

These are Extra Joss Fighters, Beyond, ABA Dragons, Master Tapsi, Yuetai Mekongers, Ministry of Economy and Finance and Asian Ballers.

The opening day will feature three matches.

The first match will be a battle between Extra Joss and Beyond (1pm), followed by the games between ABA Dragon and Master Tapsi (3pm) and Yuetai Mekongers versus Asian Ballers (5pm).

Games will be played at the National Sports Training Center (NSTC) in Phnom Penh.

Veteran Curran Hendry for the ABA Dragons said they are happy to be back in the CBL.

“The Dragons are really excited to be back in the CBL this year and a huge thanks to our incredible sponsor, ABA Bank,” he said.

According to him, they were unable to participate last year as many players were away for the summer.

“With the additions of the country’s best two-way guard Anthony Raygoza, budding Khmer star Hong Phenglong and the nimble Khmer big man Mike Tuon, we are looking forward to a great season,” Hendry stressed.

“The CBF has done a wonderful job putting together the league with seven excellent teams and this will surely the most exciting season ever,” he added.

Dragons power forward Colin Hodgkins, said Extra Joss, Yuetai Mekongers, Master Tapsi have the edge.

“Surely the favourites for 2020 are the 2019 champions Extra Joss Fighters. The mighty Yuetai Mekongers team and powerhouse Master Tapsi will also offer tough competition,” he said.

“One thing is certain, basketball fans throughout the Kingdom of Wonder won’t have to wonder about what to watch on Sunday afternoons. Every Sunday through 2020, the best game of the week will be professionally live-streamed,” he added.

The annual tournament was supposed to be held earlier but was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In March, the government banned all sports activities because of the health crisis. With the coronavirus situation mostly under control, the government has lifted many of these restrictions.

To prevent the spread of the deadly virus, Koledoye said they will follow the protocol set by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.

“Teams will be limited to 12 players and four officials. There would also be temperature checks for all before entering the gym and we have first aid on-site,” he noted. “No fans are allowed on the courtside.”

Matches will be played every Sunday afternoon at the NSTC. The tournament is scheduled to conclude by November.

Yuetai is the main sponsor of the tournament.

Last year, Extra Joss Fighters defeated Beyond in the finals to win the championship.

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