Ahead of our fourth game of the season against the Saigon Heat, we take an in depth look at our long running rivalry with the team from Vietnam.
Formed in 2011, the Saigon Heat are Vietnam’s first ever professional basketball team and have been a part of the ASEAN Basketball League since it’s third season. Coming into their eighth season now, the Saigon Heat are the longest running ABL team after us and our Causeway rivals, the Singapore Slingers.
Initially struggling in their first two seasons,the Saigon Heat managed to overcome their early struggles and have successfully qualified for the playoffs for the past five seasons.
Last season, they recorded their first ever playoff game victory by defeating the BTN CLS Knights Indonesia. Unfortunately for them, despite the historical victory, they were not able to progress beyond the quarter finals, falling 1-2 to the eventual champions in the best of three series.
Over the past eight seasons, we’ve faced the Saigon Heat 28 times in the regular season, coming up victorious 20 times.
Our team has also locked horns with the Saigon Heat twice in the postseason. Once in 2014, where we finished runners up and the next time in 2015/2016 where we secured our historical championship. We were able to log 2-0 victories in both series.
Despite having the overall historical wins advantage over the Heat, our record on the road against them is a lot closer, with our team only having a narrow 10-6 advantage. Our last four visits to Ho Chi Minh City have ended in defeat and we will need to be at our best to ensure we come away with the win.
The Heat will be lead by their new head coach, Kevin Yurkus who recently led Vietnam to a historical bronze medal at the 30th SEA Game’s Men’s Basketball Competition.
The Heat’s import line up will feature a member of the ABL All Time Top 10 club, Christien Charles who is a former ABL champion, two time World Import MVP and also three time Defensive Player of the Year.
The other imports are 34 year old Panamanian forward, Gary Forbes who formerly played for the Denver Nuggets and the Toronto Raptors and 27 year old American forward, Sam Thompson who played NBA Pre Season basketball with the Charlotte Hornets.
The Saigon Heat’s local lineup will feature seven members of the SEA Games bronze medal team including the returning Chris Dierker, Justin Young, Dang Khoa Tran and Sang Dinh who all put in impressive performances last season.