By Xuân Đăng
HCM CITY — The national men’s basketball team is training hard for the upcoming SEA Games 2022, aiming to better their performance at the previous event.
The 31st SEA Games will take place in Việt Nam next month.
Coach Kevin Yurkus and his staff have called 18 players to prepare for the two competition formats – 5×5 and 3×3.
Yurkus will continue to be the head coach of the 5×5 team, while Matt Valt Pelt, who just had an impressive season in leading Saigon Heat at the recent VBA tournament, will coach the 3×3 team.
Both teams aim to achieve better results than in the previous SEA Games when they won a bronze medal in both formats.
Many of the 18 players called up are familiar names for Vietnamese basketball fans.
Overseas Vietnamese like the Đinh brothers, Justin Young, Khoa Trần, Chris Dierker and Stefan Nguyễn will continue to be key players in the latest campaign.
Meanwhile, homegrown players like Võ Kim Bản, Dư Minh An, Nguyễn Huỳnh Phú Vinh and Đặng Thái Hưng promise to bring more diverse tactical options for coach Yurkus.
The team has also welcomed new players like Antony Sundberd and Kim Ji Soo, who were called to the squad for the first time.
Playing in the PG position, Antony Sundberd is expected to be a wild card at the tournament. The 20-year-old athlete is the record holder for three-pointers made in a game in the last VBA season, scoring eight.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Kim Jisoo, SF, is expected to add more power to offence and defence formations.
On the defensive front, there is also Đặng Thái Hưng and Nguyễn Văn Hùng, who had impressive defensive stats in Thăng Long Warriors’ matches at the last VBA tournament.
The return of some experienced veterans is expected to add quality to the squad.
One of them is Triệu Hán Minh, the most experienced and oldest player on the team.
At 34, with more than 15 years of playing basketball at many levels – amateur, semi-pro and professional – he is still showing amazingly consistent form.
The shooting guard has played for the Đà Nẵng Dragons in the last two VBA seasons. He averaged 9.5 points per game and had a three-pointer success rate of 37.7 per cent.
He is also a key player for the HCM City basketball team that has won several national championships.
Players like Hán Minh will be an advantage for the Vietnamese basketball team at the 31st SEA Games, especially when it lacks players specialising in long throws.
Hán Minh and young players like Võ Kim Bản and Antony Sundberd, who have accurate throws from outside the 3-point line, can help big men like Chris Dienker or Nguyễn Huỳnh Phú Vinh can get more space in restricted areas.
At the previous SEA Games in the Philippines, the Vietnamese basketball team brought home two bronze medals. It was the first time that the team achieved success at a regional event. VNS