|High fliers: Viet Nam's men's basketball team train in prepration for the 28th SEA Games in Singapore. — Photo bongda.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam's men's basketball team are ready for the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore.
Vietnamese basketball had lagged behind many countries in the region such as the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, so a team wasn't sent to the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar because of expense and no hope of a medal. Now it is rising with the support from the Sai Gon Heat.
Out of the 16 member team, 10 are from Sai Gon Heat, who are the first professional basketball team in Viet Nam and play in the ASEAN Basketball League.
The team is trained by the first ever foreign coach, Anthony Garbelotto of the UK, who also coaches Sai Gon Heat.
Under the guidance of Garbelotto, who has worked in Europe and America for more than 15 years, Viet Nam have trained professionally and aim to reach the semi-finals.
Garbelotto said the team will try to beat Myanmar and Cambodia, and then beat Thailand or Singapore to earn a ticket to play in the semi-finals.
"The whole team will make every effort. It is the first step to bring Vietnamese basketball to international tournaments in the near future and improve its rankings in the International Basketball Federation," Garbelotto added.
"Vietnamese players have talent. Three of them compete in professional events in the Philippines. Their weak points are that they are small and have only experienced domestic tournaments, so it creates several bad habits that need to change," said Garbelotto.
Head of the basketball team will be Connor Nguyen, a Vietnamese American, chairman of the Heat.
"I know my responsibility of being head of the basketball group. It is very different from following the Heat to playing in international events. My duty with Viet Nam will be bigger and heavier, but to develop basketball, I am ready," said Nguyen.
"Half of the team are youngsters. This Gameswill help them gain the skills and experience for following events," said Dao Duc Kien, head of the basketball section of the National Sports Administration.
Viet Nam are in Group B alongside Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Singapore. Group A consists of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Timor-Leste. — VNS