For pro basketball in Vietnam, the Saigon Heat of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) used to be the only game in town. How things have changed.
With the launch of the Vietnam Basketball Association (VBA) this August, Word had a chance to pick the brain of Heat coach Anthony Garbelotto ahead of the first regular season games. Of course, being the head coach of both the VBA and ABL versions of the Heat (and the Vietnamese national team), Garbelotto benefits from the growth of the sport nationwide to uncover new talent, as well as to look at prospects who could make the jump from the domestic league to the ABL.
“David Arnold will be the headline player and we will have an American import and a number of exciting new young players,” he says.
The Heat’s players and coaches will be peppered throughout the VBA, notably with Heat assistant Dave Singleton relinquishing his ABL duties to skipper the Can Tho Catfish. Viet Kieu playmaker Tam Dinh will join the Heat’s To Trung.
“Singleton will have them playing hard from the start,” says Garbelotto.
The Ho Chi Minh City Wings will provide the Heat with a crosstown rivalry from the get-go, with Garbelotto pointing to Viet Kieu Justin Young as being one to watch. He adds that another Viet Kieu, Horace Nguyen, is an exciting young point guard headed for the Danang Dragons and they are likely to be a run-and-gun squad. In Hanoi, he says head coach Todd Purves provides a spark behind the bench, being a former ABL champion coach with NBA experience.
Can Tho Catfish
Owner: Nguyen Hoai Nam
Coach: David Singleton
Home Court: Can Tho Sporting Hall (Le Loi, Ninh Kieu, Can Tho)
Owner: Nguyen Bao Hoang
Coach: Anthony Garbelotto
Home Court: CIS (Street 23, Q7, HCMC)
Owner: Le Hong Phuc
Coach: Donte Hill
Home Court: Quan Khu 5 (Hoang Cuong Bac, Danang)
Owner: Tran Trong Kien
Coach: Todd Purves
Home Court: Bach Khoa Stadium (40 Ta Quang Buu, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi)
Ho Chi Minh City Wings
Owner: Tran Anh Tu
Coach: Mika Turunen
Home Court: Ho Xuan Huong Stadium (2 Ho Xuan Huong, Q3, HCMC)
Men Build Three Swimming Pools in Central Vietnam
With VND80 million (US$3,600) between them, three Vietnamese men in the central province of Quang Ngai have constructed three swimming pools of about 300 square meters each, according to Tuoi Tre.
An above-ground swimming pool of around 5.8 meters in diameter can often cost more than US$6,000.
But Tran Anh Tuan, an engineer, Huynh Duc Linh, a gym teacher, and Nguyen Van Phuong, a swimming coach, have built three pools with half that amount, after seeing many students in the province die from drowning. During April alone, nine sixth-graders from the province drowned while swimming in a local river.
Vietnam’s rate of child drowning is one of the highest in Asia. A recent World Health Organization survey found that 32 children in Vietnam die from drowning every day, with the number of child drownings per year as high as 11,665.
Vietnam to Send 23 Athletes to Olympics
Swimmer Hoang Quy Phuoc has become the latest Vietnamese athlete to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil writes Thanh Nien.
The 23-year-old man will join 22 other athletes that Vietnam will send to Rio to compete in a number of sports including shooting, weightlifting, badminton and judo.
Earlier this year, sports authorities said they expected to send only 15 athletes to the games.
Vietnam has invested more than VND48 billion (US$2.1 million) in training its athletes for the Olympics, which will be held from Aug. 5 to Aug. 21 in Rio. It targets at least one medal.
Vietnamese Cyclist Heads for Switzerland
According to Vietnam News, young athlete Phan Hoang Thai has received an invitation from the World Cycling Centre (WCC) to take part in a training course in Switzerland.
The Domesco Dong Thap cyclist will participate in the international programme from Aug. 6 to Oct. 20 at the centre in Aigle, which has hosted more than 1,000 trainees since its establishment in 2002.
Thai is a cyclist with potential, having won a silver medal at the 23rd Asian Junior Cycling Championships in January. He also won six titles in the National Junior Cycling Championships’ individual and team events last month.
Vietnam Bag Another Table Tennis Silver
Nguyen Trung Kien and Dinh Thi Hue lost to Singaporean rivals in the final moments of the Southeast Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships’ U18 mixed doubles final in July, according to Vietnam News.
The Vietnamese pair took a 2-1 lead and were leading 8-4 in the fourth set, seemingly set to win the first gold medal for Vietnam in the championship being held in Cambodia.
However, their rivals levelled the result at 2-2 and went on to take the fifth set for victory.
Kien and Hue pocketed the fourth silver for Vietnam at the championship. Vietnam lost all the four finals to players from Singapore.