|HCM City Wings (in blue) defeat Hanoi Buffaloes 77-64 in their semi-final, second leg, of the VBA League. — Photo vba.vn|
HÀ NỘI — HCM City Wings dominated Hanoi Buffaloes on Thursday in the second leg of the semi-finals of Việt Nam Basketball Association League, forcing both sides to a third match on Sunday.
The loss to the Buffaloes last week seemed to have pushed the Wings to come back strongly on November 3 in their second meet at the Hà Nội’s University of Science and Technology Gymnasium.
Despite playing on home turf, the Buffaloes were not in best form, giving the whole court to the visitors in all four sets. The Wings did not waste any opportunity and kept their rival under check with continuous attacks, which the Buffaloes tried to counter by playing in defence, as they have done since the beginning of the tournament. That’s also how they protected their advance after winning the first leg 84-64.
The first points went to the hosts who took full advantage of penalties to take early lead, but the Wings fought back and finished the first set at 19-18.
The Buffaloes were more careful in the second set, with slower pace in attacks. After half time, they won only four points while the Wings bagged eight and maintained their lead till the end at 33-30.
The third set belonged to the visitors, whose Nguyễn Huỳnh Hải and Lê Ngọc Tú tallied many points with their perfect three-point throws. The Wings set a gap of 10 points against the hosts, forcing them to push up their attacks, but their players found it hard to get to the Wings’ basket. Nguyễn Phú Hoàng and Trevor Berkeley did their best, but could only narrow the gap to five points (47-52) in this set.
The final set was tense as the Buffaloes levelled the score 54-54. However, they failed to maintain their hold for long. The Wings’ Triệu Hán Minh made the difference, making successful short and long distance throws and winning his team several points.
A minute to the end, it was 75-64 for the Wings, and Minh broke the hearts of local fans when he pocketed two more points and tied it 77-64.
The Wings levelled the semis result, forcing both sides to a third match on Sunday at HCM City’s Hồ Xuân Hương Gymnasium. Danang Dragons will have to wait for a few days more to know who their rival will be in the finals. — VNS