|Saigon Heat (in red) defeated Hochiminh City Wings to win a first spot in the VBA final for the first time in its history. — Photo voh.com.vn|
HCM CITY — Saigon Heat became the first team to enter the final of the Việt Nam Basketball Association (VBA) after defeating Hochiminh City Wings 74-71 in game two of the playoffs.
The match was held at Hồ Xuân Hương Sporting Event Hall in HCM City on Thursday.
With the advantage of winning the first match, Saigon Heat started the game with an aggressive stance, knowing the Wings had to win to keep their hopes alive.
After the opening whistle, both Hồ Chí Minh City teams tried to use an attacking strategy. With the strong play of Wayne Martin (7 points), the home team bombarded the Heat’s basket. However, with its more diverse array of attacking threats, Saigon Heat held the lead after the first period by a score of 16-12.
Wings tried hard to turn in the tide in the second period but still lost ground because of the non-stop scoring of Tavarion Nix (13 points). The second period ended 36-30 in favour of the visitors. Holding the advantage, Saigon Heat was content to sit back and defend and find chances to break quickly the other way. Try as they might, the Wings could not gain a foothold and trailed at the end of the third period, 48-55.
Wings narrowed the gap in the final period but it was not enough to keep their hopes alive, falling 71-74. After missing out on place in the VBA final the past two years the wait will continue for at least another season.
Reaching the final is the biggest achievement for Saigon Heat to date. Their opponent will be the winner of the meeting between Cantho Catfish and Thang Long Warriors. The series is tied 1-1 and the third match will be played on August 31 on Cantho Catfish’s home court. — VNS