Following the failed opening match, the Hanoi Buffaloes underwent consistent changes to secure the top spot in the 2023 VBA standings.
In the 2023 VBA opening match on June 11, the Hanoi Buffaloes suffered a home defeat against the reigning champions, the Saigon Heat.
Reflecting on the loss, coach Erik Rashad said the feeling of losing the opening match at home was unpleasant, especially against the defending champions who showcased a fierce performance, scoring 54 points from beyond the three-pointer line.
|Udun Osakue (blue jersey) injects fresh vitality into the Hanoi Buffaloes. Photo: VBA
Rashad thus responded to the setback by initiating continuous changes, seeking improvement for the capital city’s team.
They strategically introduced Udun Osakue, a new foreign player, to enhance their playing style.
|Nguyen Tien Duong (blue jersey) spearheads a counterattack, securing victory for the Hanoi Buffaloes. Photo: VBA
The team also exhibited a transformative defensive prowess, applying pressure across the court and executing quick counterattacks.
One of the memorable moments for Rashad was when his players employed defensive strategies that forced the opponent to turn over the ball 31 times, resulting in 41 points in one match.
Amidst their ascent, the Hanoi Buffaloes achieved notable milestones, including a record-setting seven-match winning streak, securing the first spot in the semifinals, and establishing a scoring record of 115 points from the season’s outset.
|The Hanoi Buffaloes (blue jersey) outperform the Saigon Heat at the end of the group stage. Photo: VBA
After nearly two and a half months since their opening defeat, the Hanoi Buffaloes faced a rematch against the Saigon Heat, securing a thrilling 81-79 victory.
With two remaining matches, the team eyes finishing the group stage in the top position.
Summing up the journey, coach Rashad stated he learned that it does not matter how you start; it is how you finish that matters.