VBA 2020 – Memorable experiences

Overcoming the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnam Basketball Association League 2020 (VBA 2020) wrapped up with the second consecutive championship title for Saigon Heat Club. The shining performance of domestic players and a series of newly established records have demonstrated that the quality of the tournament has been increasingly improving.

Saigon Heart Club celebrate their VBA 2020 championship title.
Saigon Heart Club celebrate their VBA 2020 championship title.

VBA 2020 is considered a very successful season. The concentrated playing plan and close cooperation with many medical units in Ho Chi Minh City not only helped to ensure the health of players, trainers, experts and spectators but also worked to maintain the league’s professional quality at a high level.

A number of players left strong marks. Nguyen Huynh Phu Vinh entered the VBA history by becoming the first player to win the league for three successive seasons. Meanwhile, young talent Vo Kim Ban was the first domestic player to be crowned as the most valuable performer of a VBA match (Saigon Heat vs Thang Long Warriors). Specifically, 20-year-old Ban set two records regarding the number of points for a domestic player (31 points) and the number of successful three-point throws (eight out of 20) in a match, one clear of the previous record held by Viet Arnold and Sang Dinh.

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Saigon Heat's Vo Kim Ban (C) during a match.

In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out with complicated developments and pushed the VBA organisation work in a passive position, forcing the league to be suspended until October. CEO of VBA Tran Chu Sa recalled: “The sudden outbreak of the pandemic made everyone extremely confused. There were even times of great despair with difficulties in bringing the contingent of foreign players, trainers and experts back to Vietnam. It was not until the personnel factors were confirmed and ensured that the anxiety and psychological pressure on the league organising committee were relieved.”

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Setting aside the difficulties in mobilising sponsorship or the losses totalling more than VND20 billion (US$867,052), VBA 2020 still recorded and broadcast all matches with significantly improved image quality. Partners around the world as well as in Southeast Asia were surprised and even offered high praise when comparing the VBA with the US league NBA regarding the quality of the season.

Entering 2021, Sa affirmed that the VBA will continue to apply the form of concentrated playing, as this still remains the safest option for the season to run smoothly. The process of preparing and arranging personnel, as well as the announcement of organisational plans, has already since late 2020. Clubs will soon announce the list of players and the next events will take place shortly after the Lunar New Year. In addition, VBA 2021 will have some major changes in terms of the rules and the way to set up teams’ competing squads. All revolves around the goal of offering the best support for the national team towards high results at the 31st Southeast Asian Games, set to be held in Vietnam later this year.