Saigon Heat are ready to compete at the ASEAN Basketball League. — Photo vtv.vn
HÀ NỘI — Following their first Việt Nam Basketball Association (VBA) League championship this year, the Saigon Heat are eager to conquer the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) 2019-20.
Coach Kevin Yurkus of the Heat recently said the ABL is a wonderful event and that he felt confident his squad was strong enough to take the title.
In last year’s ABL, the Heat reached the playoffs and won the first ABL post-season game in the team's history over the CLS Knights Indonesia at CIS Arena in HCM City under the watch of the American coach Yurkus.
Yurkus is a two-time Coach of the Year in the VBA and coached the Việt Nam national basketball team that won two historic bronze medals at the recent Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines. Yurkus is also a director of the Sports Skills Academy in HCM City.
With experience in ASEAN basketball, Yurkus helped the Heat sign Christien Charles, an ABL legend who last played for the HCM City-based team in 2016-17.
Charles has also played for Hi-Tech Bangkok City, Chang Thailand Slammers, Singapore Slingers, Mono Vampire and Blackwater Elite in the ABL.
Charles helped the Hi-Tech Bangkok City win the ABL title in 2014. He won ABL world import MVP in 2013 and 2014 and was ABL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, 2015-16 and 2017-18.
Playing alongside Charles will be former NBA player Gary Forbes and journeyman Sam Thompson.
The remaining players of the Heat are in good form and include some of the overseas Vietnamese in the national team that won SEA Games bronze such as Tâm Đinh, Chris Dierker and Justin Young.
Coach Yurkus has also added highly-rated youngsters like Võ Kim Bản and Nguyễn Huỳnh Phú Vinh to his rotation.
This year, the ABL will feature 10 teams who are scheduled to play 26 games during the regular season with the final set of games to be played on March 28, 2020.
The tournament started on November 16 with Mono Vampire and San Miguel Alab Pilipinas taking the lead, however, the Heat will begin their journey on January 3, 2020. They will take on Mono Vampire at home in HCM City. — VNS