VBA 2024: Saigon Heat blow out Nha Trang Dolphins in opening match

June 20, 2024 - 10:19
As is traditional, the opening match of the VBA season is always a rematch between the two teams that reached the finals the previous season.
Võ Kim Bản with 24 points, six rebounds and three assists help Saigon Heat won the first match. Photo courtesy of VBA

Xuân Đăng

HCM CITY As is traditional, the opening match of the VBA season is always a rematch between the two teams that reached the finals the previous season.

Entering the new season, both teams kept their core players that led to last year's success, and also added new foreign players.

While the Nha Trang Dolphins enjoyed the return of shooter Nguyễn Thành Đạt after a year of serious injury, the Saigon Heat keep their best trio of local players: Nguyễn Huỳnh Phú Vinh, Võ Kim Bản and Dư Minh An.

Thành Đạt aka Đạt Doc shared that he feels happy to be back competing with familiar teammates and coaching staff.

"I feel like the young players on my team have taken a huge step after a successful season. I hope to contribute more to the team's achievements in the coming time," Đạt Doc shared before the match.

Fans filled Hồ Xuân Hương Gymnasium, District 3, the new home court of the Dolphins this season. Photo courtesy of VBA

The difference between the two rivals is that the Dolphins assigned their young local players like Phạm Nhật Thái Quang or Huỳnh Vĩnh Quang to be the point guard, while the Heat trusts foreign player Elijah Weaver.

This was a main factor that helped the Heat easily win.

The VBA champions of the last four seasons scored from every position. Taking advantage of the attacking momentum of his teammates, Weaver used his strength to help the Heat increased the gap.

On the other hand, the main players of the Dolphins could not find a connection. Coach Chris Daleo was forced to put many reserve players on the court but the effectiveness of the offence could not be changed.

Starting the game slowly, the coastal city team was down 7-24 after the first quarter.

In the first minutes of the second quarter, Thái Quang tried to help Nha Trang Dolphins tighten the score.

Poor performance of Joe Mvuezolo (No.23) cost the beach city team a win. Photo courtesy of VBA

However, a poor performance from foreign player Joe Mvuezolo made the defending runner-up slower than their opponent.

The Heat quickly regained control of the game thanks to captain Tim Waale. This player's effective close-range attacks helped the Heat widen the score to 21-41 before the break.

There were no surprises after the break as the defending champions were still the more effective team. The Heat won 89 - 60 as Võ Kim Bản won the Player of the Game title with 24 points, six rebounds, and three assists. VNS