|Dominique Tham with a double-double of 28 points and 18 rebounds help the Dolphins get its first win in the VBA 2023 Final series. — Photo courtesy of VBA|
NHA TRANG — The Nha Trang Dolphins bounced back in Game 3 of the VBA 2023 Finals best-of-five series against the defending champion Saigon Heat to keep their title hopes alive.
The match was held on Sunday (September 24) at Nha Trang University Arena, Nha Trang.
The host entered the match with hopes of getting its first victory in the finals series.
Unlike the previous two games, Local MVP of VBA 2022 Huỳnh Vĩnh Quang of the Dolphins played incredibly well outside the three-point line in the first quarter to help the Dolphins take a lead of 25-19.
In the second quarter, Dominique Tham returned to the court after he committed two personal fouls in the first quarter, and the big man quickly made his presence felt as the Dolphins kept control of the game.
Tham grabbed many offensive rebounds, and the Dolphins increased their lead to 53-40 before the break.
After the break, the Heat's trio of Kentrell Barkley, Hassan Thomas and Nguyễn Huỳnh Phú Vinh quickly scored points and helped the team take back control in the first five minutes of the third quarter.
In addition, thanks to two three-pointers from Võ Kim Bản and Dư Minh An, the away team showed signs of a comeback as they narrowed the lead to 60-54.
Learning from previous bitter defeats, this time the Dolphins knew how to stop the Heat's attack.
A great performance by Robert Sampson and young player Nguyễn Phúc Vinh on defense helped the host keep a ten points lead (74-64) at the end of the third quarter.
In the last quarter, after many assists, Finals MVP 2022 Madarious Gibbs started to score many points.
Tham also played well at both end of the court to get many rebounds, helping the host to control the game.
In the seventh minute of the last quarter, the home team created the largest gap since the beginning of the match at 24 points.
When the clock had just over two minutes left, coach Matt Van Pelt of the Heat withdrew all the starting five and accepted defeat.
In the end, after controlling most of the match, the Dolphins won convincingly with a score of 95-74.
Dominique Tham won Player of the Match with a double-double of 28 points and 18 rebounds.
In this match, the key to winning for the Dolphins was success on defense. Coach Predrag Lukic and his team completely dominated both ends and had more rebounds and steals.
Dominique Tham said after the game: "The brilliance of my teammates was the key to victory. In this finals, even though we are in a losing position, I believe that this team still has all the factors to make a difference. We will continue to fight to the end in the next match."
Game 4 will be held on Thursday (September 28) in CIS Gymnasium, home court of the Saigon Heat. — VNS