|Việt Nam Basketball Association professional league matches are organised in the empty gymnasium for about two months in Khánh Hòa Province. But it is finally canceled under COVID-19 threat. Photo of VBA
HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam Basketball Association (VBA) professional league has been officially canceled because of COVID-19.
The announcement has been posted on the VBA's official Facebook fan page.
One reason for the decision is that a number of international players and coaches who don't stay permanently in the country have been restricted in their travel movements.
The Việt Nam Basketball Federation received strong support for the decision and all clubs, as well as local authorities, have agreed to officially cancel the VBA 2021 season.
In the play-offs on August 16, Thanglong Warriors defeated Nha Trang Dolphine 80-71 to take a slot in the semi-final round.
Other three berths are still available for all teams.
National team defender Justin Young said that it is no surprise about the decision because of the tense situation following the new outbreak of cases.
"It is not difficult to make this decision. With a rising number of patients day by day together with limitations (of international players' and coaches' staying), the cancellation is obvious. At this moment, I believe that staying at home with family is more important than basketball," Young said.
"It is a tough time with everybody. Hope we could stay strong in the next weeks and things will be okay soon," he said.
|National team player Justin Young believes people's safety is more important than basketball. — Photo of Justin Young
Coach Predrag Lukic of Thanglong Warriors said he was both sad and happy hearing the season was terminated. He regretted that he could not win this season as he felt his team deserved credit for their play.
"In fact, Thanglong Warriors is the only team in the semi-finals this season," Lukic said.
"We also placed top in the group stage and won the Supporter's Cup. I congratulate all players and the team's crew. None could deny our effort," said Lukic who now can fly to Hà Nội to unite with his family.
"We have to accept the reality and thank the organisers for what they have done. We will celebrate winning our group stage and hold a small party when it is safe. My wife and kids are waiting for me and I really want to see them soon."
The German and Serbian coach said it was regrettable that the season could not finish but he was proud to guide wonderful players of Thanglong Warriors in this successful season. He hoped that the pandemic could be controlled well and people would return to normal life.
Phan Thanh Cảnh of Danang Dragons said it is an unexpected end of the season but everyone has tried their best.
"I am really sad, for teams and for owners, VBA and VBF staff. They have paid a lot of money, done a good job and tried hard. I appreciated that," said Cảnh.
"Everything was wasted when the tournament is cancelled when there are only a few matches left," he said.
The only local coach of the professional basketball league said he believed that VBA would be back stronger and more competitive in the future. — VNS