HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam's first and only professional basketball team, Sai Gon Heat, will take part in the ASEAN Basketball League next month, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) daily reported yesterday.
|On simmer: Sai Gon Heat player Jonathan Jones (right) vies with a Chang Thailand Slammers player. The Sai Gon Heat will join ASEAN Basketball League action next month. — Photo bongrovietnam.com
Cinnor Nguyen, executive director of the club, was quoted by the newspaper as saying that it targeted a place in the top four in the bloc's major basketball tournament, which will see the participation of teams from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The tournament is in its fourth season and this is the second time Sai Gon Heat have taken part following their sixth place finish last year.
The HCM City-based team will play Westports Dragons of Malaysia in the first match which starts on January 12 at HCM City's Tan Binh Gymnasium.
It will play a total of 20 matches until May.
Sai Gon Heat held a conference over the weekend to introduce their new-look team, especially their most recent signings, explosive guards Phillip Morrison and Jai Reyes, who are predictably being hailed as one of the most exciting backcourt tandems to watch this upcoming season.
Morrison, a 1.82m combo guard, spent three seasons with the Asbury University and is playing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. He is said to have the ability to hurt from the inside and outside. During his senior year, Morrison averaged 21.7 points per game while shooting 50 per cent from the field.
Reyes played 14 games with the Bangkok Cobras last season.
He has proven himself as a lightning fast guard who can create for his teammates and also score points himself. The 25-year-old guard averaged 14.3 points per game last season.
Other important players are former University of San Francisco (USF) star Dior Lowhorn and David Palmer from the US.
Lowhorn has arrived at the Heat with a great basketball resume.
The 2.04m forward led the West Coast Conference scoring charts for two straight seasons, with an average of 20.5 points per game (2007-08) and 20.1 points per game (2008-09) while playing for the USF. Lowhorn excelled in the rebounding department as well in his three seasons with the USF, where he averaged a little under seven rebounds per game.
During his senior year at USF, he broke the fastest to 1,000-point record previously held by the USF Hall of Famer and NBA legend Bill Russell.
The 25-year-old forward has had stints playing in Europe and America.
Palmer graduated from Oak Hill Academy and started his college career at Seton Hall in 2005-06. He then played two seasons with the University of Iowa before finishing his college career at Northern Kentucky University where he averaged 17.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game plus 59 blocks in 30 games. The 2.1m centre had previously played professionally in Poland, China and the NBA Development League with Bakersfield Jam and Reno Bighorns.
The 26-year-old averaged 8.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while playing for the Bakersfield Jam.
To warm-up for the league, Sai Gon Heat will play friendly matches against Sichuan Blue Whale from China tomorrow and January 3. — VNS