As the group stage concludes, the 2023 VBA has set the stage for two semifinal matches, with a spotlight on the showdown between defending champions the Saigon Heat and the Thang Long Warriors.
Following their triumph over Ho Chi Minh City Wings in the final group match, the Saigon Heat, securing three consecutive VBA championships in 2020, 2022, and 2023, claimed the top spot in the 2023 VBA group stage.
Despite early challenges, such as key players like Tim Waale and Vo Kim Ban being sidelined due to injuries, limiting their contributions, the Saigon Heat emerged victorious.
|The Saigon Heat emerged victorious against Thang Long Warriors in the 2023 VBA group stage. Photo: VBA|
Expressing his joy, Saigon Heat coach Matt Van Pelt was positive about the team’s achievement in ranking first in the group stage and becoming the number-one seed in the 2023 VBA semifinals.
Overcoming the challenge of playing with only one foreign player required substantial effort from the team, he said.
With their top position secured, the Saigon Heat are poised to face the fourth-place team, Thang Long Warriors, in the semifinals.
Simultaneously, the second-place Hanoi Buffaloes will clash with the third-place Nha Trang Dolphins.
|Saigon Heat coach Matt Van Pelt (L). Photo: VBA|
In the semifinal round, the four teams will engage in a maximum of three matches, with the two winning teams advancing to the finals.
The upcoming Saigon Heat and Thang Long Warriors encounter is highly anticipated by fans, marking a rematch of the 2020 VBA final, where the Heat successfully defended their championship with a 3-1 victory over the Hanoi-based team.
Despite maintaining a favorable history in recent seasons, including the 2023 VBA group stage, the Saigon Heat remain cautious and hold reservations about their opponents.
Coach Matt Van Pelt emphasized the interesting nature of the battle, recognizing that the Thang Long Warriors are formidable opponents.
|The Nha Trang Dolphins and Hanoi Buffaloes in action during the 2023 VBA group stage. Photo: VBA|
He highlighted the team’s commitment to thoroughly reviewing videos of the Warriors’ matches to prepare a strategic plan for the upcoming clash.
The other semifinal matchup between the Hanoi Buffaloes and the Nha Trang Dolphins is also anticipated to be captivating.
In the 2022 VBA semifinals, the Buffaloes secured a 2-0 victory over the Dolphins.
As they face each other again, the Nha Trang team has expressed determination to settle the debt.
With their strong performance and confident mindset, they won two out of three matches against the Hanoi Buffaloes in the 2023 VBA group stage.