With a resounding 82-67 victory over the Hanoi Buffaloes in their semifinal series on September 12, the Nha Trang Dolphins sealed a 2-0 overall win to secure their first-ever spot in the VBA finals, marking a historic milestone for the coastal city’s basketball team.
Coach Predrag Lukic and his team will now go up against the defending champions, Saigon Heat, in the final, setting the stage for an enthralling showdown.
|The Saigon Heat team. Photo: VBA|
The Nha Trang Dolphins, established in 2020, are the newest addition to the VBA, while the Saigon Heat, founded in 2011, boast a decade-long history.
With such contrasting levels of experience, the two teams have vastly different track records.
The Nha Trang Dolphins have made impressive strides in recent seasons, reaching the semifinals in their debut season last year and cementing their presence in the league even further this year.
On the other hand, the Saigon Heat have been in existence since before the inaugural VBA season in 2016.
They have clinched the championship title in each of the past three seasons.
|Robert Sampson (R) of the Nha Trang Dolphins and Kentrell Barkley of the Saigon Heat during the 2023 VBA season. Photo: VBA|
However, the upcoming clash between these two teams promises to be a tightly contested battle, as Madarious Gibbs, the star player of the Nha Trang Dolphins, played a key role in the Saigon Heat’s championship triumph last year.
Moreover, fans of both the Saigon Heat and Nha Trang Dolphins are eagerly anticipating exciting matchups between two foreign stars, namely Kentrell Barkley of the Saigon Heat and Robert Sampson of the Nha Trang Dolphins.
Both players are towering figures, standing at around two meters tall, and they have earned the admiration of fans with their seasoned and versatile playing styles.
Furthermore, another highly anticipated aspect of this matchup is the rivalry between standout local players, specifically the guard-forward pairings of Vo Kim Ban and Nguyen Huynh Phu Vinh of the Heat and Huynh Vinh Quang and Son Minh Tam of the Dolphins.
All four players hail from the Mekong Delta basketball scene and have previously been teammates in other domestic competitions.
Their most recent collaboration led the Soc Trang team to capture the gold medal at the 2022 National Sports Festival.