A failure to find a win in the 3x3 format of the ongoing ABL Pre-Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) Challenge 2022 or the ABL 3x3 International Champions Cup 2022 in Bali, Indonesia, is a worrying indicator of a lack of form for the Cambodian national basketball team, especially ahead of the upcoming SEA Games.
In the 3x3 format of the ABL Pre-SEA Games Challenge 2022, the Cambodians lost every match, going down 17-12 to hosts Bali in their first match, before recording a heavy 21-2 defeat at the hands of Platinum Karaoke of the Philippines and a final 19-10 loss to Thailand’s Sniper X.
Although these matches were just warm-up games between the teams that will represent the ASEAN nations at the 31st SEA Games 2022 in Vietnam, the three heavy defeats show that the Cambodian basketball team are still in the lowest level when it comes to the 3x3 format of the game. This is particularly worrisome, as the SEA Games use the 3x3 and 5x5 variations exclusively.
In contrast, hosts Indonesia’s INA Patriots became the champions of the 2022 ABL 3x3 International Champions Cup after beating Malaysia’s Maba 21-15 in the final. Platinum Karaoke defeated Vietnam’s VN Red & Gold 15-8 to take the third spot.
In the women’s 3x3, the Vietnamese women’s Red & Golds recorded an exciting victory by defeating Indonesia’s Louvre Angels 14-7 in the final to become champions. Team Elite finished in third place in the women’s division after defeating Delhi 3BL 17-6.
However, the Kingdom’s teams have not yet completed their mission to the Indonesian tournament, as the 5x5 format is about to get underway. Cambodia find themselves in Group A with Malaysia, MisOr Mustangs and Indonesia’s BBM CLS Knights. Group B features Vietnam, Singapore, Valientes Zamboanga of the Philippines and Indonesia’s Louvre Indonesia. The 5x5 competition began on April 19 and wil be decided on April 22.
When asked about the team’s preparations for the SEA Games, Vath Chamroeun, secretary-general of the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC), said: “The purpose of our basketball players entry to the Indonesian tournament was to gain valuable experience ahead of the games, and I think they have done that. We will include more of our foreign based players – who are currently training and playing abroad – in our selections for May’s Vietnamese games.”