Surprising performance 

Prior to the final series, the Saigon Heat and Nha Trang Dolphins were on opposite ends of the spectrum.

The team based in Ho Chi Minh City had won the championship for the past three seasons, while this was the first time the Nha Trang squad had made it to the finals. 

However, within the opening minutes of the first final match, spectators were amazed to see the experienced team outperformed by the overall competence of the Dolphins. 

Fans cheer for the Saigon Heat during the 2023 VBA final match against the Nha Trang Dolphins. Photo: VBA
Fans cheer for the Saigon Heat during the 2023 VBA final match against the Nha Trang Dolphins. Photo: VBA

It was not until the latter half of the game that the Saigon Heat managed to stage a comeback, resulting in a 98-95 victory.

The Saigon Heat’s foreign player Kentrell Barkley commented after the match that, even though their opponents put on an exceptional performance, his team’s shooting ability helped them secure the win.

Still, despite the victory, Barkley acknowledged that the road to the finish won’t be easy.

Nha Trang Dolphins’ Dominique Tham (white jersey) competes against Saigon Heat players during the 2023 VBA final match. Photo: VBA
Nha Trang Dolphins’ Dominique Tham (white jersey) competes against Saigon Heat players during the 2023 VBA final match. Photo: VBA

Rare three-pointer

Dominique Tham, a standout for the Nha Trang Dolphins, is famous for his aggressive play near the hoop.

Although Tham rarely attempts long-range shots, the power forward surprised spectators by making a three-pointer from the front corner in the closing moments of the first overtime session. 

Saigon Heat’s Vo Kim Ban competes during the 2023 VBA final match against the Nha Trang Dolphins. Photo: VBA
Saigon Heat’s Vo Kim Ban competes during the 2023 VBA final match against the Nha Trang Dolphins. Photo: VBA

This incredible shot not only dampened the spirits of Saigon Heat fans but also led to the first double-overtime of the season. 

Equally surprising, Tham’s three-point attempt was only his fifth throughout the 2023 VBA season, despite playing for a total of 500 minutes.

Vo Kim Ban’s contribution

Vo Kim Ban of the Saigon Heat also impressed fans throughout the game. 

The challenges faced by the Saigon Heat in the first finals match once again gave the 1.86-meter-tall star an opportunity to showcase his skills, as he successfully made four three-pointers in the latter part of the game, helping push the Heat to victory.