Monday, 22 August 2016 15:12

Basketball Gets a Lift

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American basketball player David Arnold is likely to be the star player for Saigon Heat in this year’s first edition of a national Vietnamese Basketball League

With the arrival of the Vietnam Basketball Association (VBA), basketball is set to take flight in Vietnam. Words by Harry Hodge

 

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.

 

The first regular season game will be on Aug. 6. Tickets can be purchased from Ticketbox. Each team has a Facebook account. For more info on the VBA, visit vba.vn or facebook.com/vba.vn

 

The Teams

 

Can Tho Catfish

Owner: Nguyen Hoai Nam

Coach: David Singleton

Home Court: Can Tho Sporting Hall (Le Loi, Ninh Kieu, Can Tho)

 

Saigon Heat

Owner: Nguyen Bao Hoang

Coach: Anthony Garbelotto

Home Court: CIS (Street 23, Q7, HCMC)

 

Danang Dragons

Owner: Le Hong Phuc

Coach: Donte Hill

Home Court: Quan Khu 5 (Hoang Cuong Bac, Danang)

 

Hanoi Buffaloes

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.

Last modified on Monday, 22 August 2016 15:27
Harry Hodge

Harry Hodge has written for publications across Canada and Asia, including Metro Edmonton, 24 Hours Toronto, the Korea Herald and many more. In Vietnam you've either read his sports column or seen him pitching skin cream in Vietnamese TV commercials. Follow him on Twitter at @hodgedude or send him a note about your sports events at harry@wordvietnam.com.

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