VBA 2024: Dragons shows different face this season with first win

June 22, 2024 - 15:20
Despite a heavy rain before the match between the Cần Thơ Catfish and Đà Nẵng Dragon, fans still filled the stands at Hồ Xuân Hương Gymnasium yesterday (June 21). 


Bryan Nguyễn (white shirt) show a great performance to help the Dragons get a first win in the match against Cần Thơ Catfish. Photo courtesy of VBA

By Xuân Đăng

HCM CITY — Despite heavy rain before the match between the Cần Thơ Catfish and Đà Nẵng Dragon, fans still filled the stands at Hồ Xuân Hương Gymnasium yesterday. 

This was Tâm Đinh's first match for the Catfish since the historic trade between the Hanoi Buffaloes and the Catfish in 2020.

"It's good to come back to where it all started. This year we play in HCM City not in Cần Thơ but it doesn't matter, we will play with all our heart for this green jersey and for the fans," Tâm Đinh shared before the match. 

Meanwhile, the Dragons brought to the match a squad with many young promising players such as Bryan Nguyễn, Nguyễn Đường Quang and Max Lee Allen. 

That young squad helped the Dragons start the match with powerful and quick plays. 

In the first quarter, all of the starting five players of the Dragons scored points. Their speedy playing style initiated by point guard Bryan Nguyễn helped the guests dominate the game.

Responding to the opponent's attack, coach Lê Trần Minh Nghĩa of the Catfish had to send three players from the bench to refresh the formation. However, with three accurate three-pointers, Quang Anh helped the Dragons end the first quarter with the score 32-21 for the Dragons. 

In the second half, energetic plays helped the Dragons continue to maintain a double-digit gap.

Despite trailing, the Catfish players remained cool. In particular, Catfish legend Tâm Đinh opened his scoring with a three-point shot.

The Dragons led 54-41 before the break.

After the first two difficult quarters, Tâm finally got in the zone. The forward joined hands with imported player Dakota Zinser to become the locomotive towing the Catfish closely behind the opponent.

Tâm Đinh's fadeaway shot is a thing that the Catfish's fans miss the most. Photo courtesy of VBA 

Also, 2022 rookie of the year Lê Khắc Đăng Khoa showed why he was the only player on the protected list of the Catfish this season. The young player shined outside the three-point line and the free throw line, contributing significantly to narrowing the score to only 71-79.

Going into the deciding quarter, the excitement from the end of the previous quarter helped the Catfish almost equalize.

Catfish's fans cheer for their home team at Hồ Xuân Hương Gymnasium. Photo courtersy of VBA 

The Dragons had to put back Bryan Nguyễn and Max Allen into the game, despite being at risk of fouling out. The duo brought back the explosive energy in the Dragons attack, and helped the guests finish the game with a 101-90 victory.

This is what the Dragons fans have been waiting for. Unlike the previous season, the Dragons showed a different face with young talented players. 

Bryan Nguyễn had 27 points, six assists and six steals, and was named the Player of the Game. VNS