KEEP OUR FLAG FYLING HIGH: The return of fans to the court has been a great support for all the teams in the VBA. VNS Photo Xuân Đăng
HCM CITY — After four weeks of competition, the Vietnam Basketball Association (VBA) has brought to fans many emotions and great experiences after last year's season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the return of the home-away format, along with the return of spectators to the stands, matches have become more dramatic and emotional for basketball fans across the country.
Đinh Thanh Sang, captain of Cần Thơ Catfish told Việt Nam News that it was great to see the support of the home fans again.
"This year we cannot play in Cần Thơ because our home court, Cần Thơ Sport Hall, is still a field hospital due to COVID-19, instead we have to play at Tân Bình Gymnasium in HCM City. But our fans still travel from Cần Thơ to HCM City to support us whenever we have a home game," he said.
After four weeks of intense competition, this year's VBA rankings have clearly divided into three groups. The leading group includes HCM City Wings and Saigon Heat, the following group includes Nha Trang Dolphins, Hanoi Buffaloes and Thăng Long Warriors, and finally the bottom group includes Cần Thơ Catfish and Đà Nẵng Dragons.
The Saigon Heat boast William Trần (first pick of VBA Draft 2020) along with quality foreign players Madarious Gibbs and Alonzo Stafford and local players Kim Bản, Dư Minh An and Tim Waale, so it is not surprising that the defending champion of VBA 2020 is still leading the group with a record of five wins and one loss after six matches.
Following closely behind is the team from the same city, the HCM City Wings, who also have five wins and one loss. This achievement is thanks to the excellent performance of foreign player Richard Thomas as he helped the team win against the Nha Trang Dolphins and Thang Long Warriors.
Ranked 3, 4 and 5 are the Nha Trang Dolphins, Hanoi Buffaloes and Thăng Long Warriors, respectively.
The team that surprised the fans the most has to be the Nha Trang Dolphins. Before the tournament started, no one thought that a new team like the Nha Trang Dolphins could play so well and have a chance to clinch a playoff match.
However, with the guidance of veteran coach Todd Purves, and the excellent performance of overseas Vietnamese player Dominique Tham, who has 34 offensive rebounds, the Nha Trang Dolphins have a record of four wins and one loss, including important victories against the top two teams, Saigon Heat and HCM City Wings.
With the record and performance of the team, the Dolphins have a big chance to play in the playoffs for the first time.
REBOUND KING: Great performance of Dominique Tham help Nha Trang Dolphins placed third after four weeks of competition. Photo courtesy by VBA
Besides the Nha Trang Dolphins, Thăng Long Warriors have also brought surprises to basketball fans across the country.
Considered as a top candidate for this year's championship after a trade with the Cần Thơ Catfish for shooting guard Lê Hiếu Thành, the Thăng Long Warriors have been inconsistent, leading to four losses in six games and making it very difficult for the team to make the playoffs.
Placed at the bottom of the standings are the Cần Thơ Catfish and Đà Nẵng Dragons with five losses and one win each.
For the Cần Thơ Catfish, the return of Đinh Thanh Sang, DeAngelo Hamilton and Tăng Minh Trí, who helped Cần Thơ win the championship in 2018, has still not been enough to make the Catfish return to the top.
Meanwhile, the Đà Nẵng Dragons have continued its bad form from the 2020 season.
Coach Phan Thanh Cảnh and the players need to change a lot to get better results in the upcoming matches.
Teams will continue to play until August 17, when the top four teams will play in the playoffs to get a chance to win the championship. — VNS