VBA Awards honours best players, coach of 2023 season

October 16, 2023 - 11:34
According to organisers, Barkley was the most comprehensive player of VBA history. The 1.96m-tall star is a multi-purposed player under coach Matt Van Pelt.


Kentrell Barkley receives the trophy for the MVP of the year at the VBA Awards 2023 in HCM City. Photos courtesy of VBA

HCM CITY — American Kentrell Barkley secured a hattrick of titles at the Vietnam Basketball Association (VBA) Awards 2023 which honoured the most successful players and coaches of the year.

With his outstanding performance, Barkley named the VBA's Most Valuable Player of the Year after helping Saigon Heat winning the championship for the fourth time in a row. He also took prizes for the Dunk of the Year and Basket of the Year.

According to organisers, Barkley was the most comprehensive player of VBA history. The 1.96m-tall star is a multi-purposed player under coach Matt Van Pelt.

He has good skills running with the ball, breaking through, rebounding, three-pointers and assisting, making him a serious threat to every team in the VBA.

In the Regular Season, Barkley topped the scoring chart with an average of 30.2 points per game. He was in the top three of rebounds (15.7 rebounds/game) and top two of assists (6.8 assists/game). He won nine Player of the Games awards.

In the Playoffs and Finals, Barkley was the Player of the Games in five matches and was the Finals' MVP.

In the 2023 season, he made history as the only VBA athlete scored five triple-doubles. He also set a record of scoring highest 51 points, three more than the old one, in a Playoffs game.

Sharing his opinions after the award, Barkley thanked Saigon Heat managers for giving him the opportunities on the court. He also thanked the coaching board, teammates and family for supporting him throughout the season.

He had special praise for the supporters with what they gave him every game. He hoped to have more chances to help Saigon Heat win more titles in the future.

Coach of the Year title went to Matt Van Pelt of the Saigon Heat.

"In addition to the Saigon Heat's championship winning, we also saw the success of the tournament in different angles," said Nguyễn Bảo Hoàng, president of the Việt Nam Basketball Federation.

"Our organising activities were improved. We welcomed more and more supporters. And all of us recognised the strong progress of players. It was a remarkable development of our basketball throughout nearly a decade.

"An important thing is that, regardless of winning or losing results, our teams still want to come back and win in the following year. I want to congratulate all teams for their achievement this season and let's continue to build a great tournament together."

The VBA Awards 2023 included two categories.

The first had four different awards voted by the supporters and Media Advisory Board.

Apart from Barkley's Basket of the Year and Dunk of the Year prizes, organisers presented Madarious Gibbs of Nha Trang Dolphins the Block of the Year and Võ Kim Bản of the Heat was Favourite player of the Year.

The second category was organised by the Professional Advisory Board. They chose Matt Van Pelt of the Heat the Coach of the Year; Trần Văn Trung of Ho Chi Minh City Wings was the Most Improved Player; Sơn Minh Tâm of the Dolphins was the Sixth Man of the Year; John Fields of Thang Long Warriors was Defensive Player of the Year; Dominique Tham of the Dolphins Heritage player of the Year; Nguyễn Huỳnh Phú Vinh of the Heat was Local Player of the Year; and Nguyễn Hoàng Phúc of the Dolphins the Rookie of the Year.

"It is my first year at VBA. I am really happy with the competition. I have learnt a lot from the seniors, local and foreign players. All these experiences will help me to develop stronger in my career," said Phúc. VNS