Vietnam basketball team aims for better showing at SEA Games hinh anh 1The Vietnamese men’s basketball team train in preparation for SEA Games 31. (Photo:
HCM City (VNS/VNA) - The national men’s basketball team is training hard for the upcoming 31st SEA Games in May, aiming to better their performance at the previous event.

Coach Kevin Yurkus and his staff have called 18 players to prepare for the two competition formats – 5x5 and 3x3.

Yurkus will continue to be the head coach of the 5x5 team, while Matt Valt Pelt, who just had an impressive season in leading Saigon Heat at the recent VBA tournament, will coach the 3x3 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 Dinh brothers, Justin Young, Khoa Tran, Chris Dierker and Stefan Nguyen will continue to be key players in the latest campaign.

Meanwhile, homegrown players like Vo Kim Ban, Du Minh An, Nguyen Huynh Phu Vinh and Dang Thai Hung 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 Dang Thai Hung and Nguyen Van Hung, who had impressive defensive stats in Thang 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 Trieu Han 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 Da Nang Dragons in the last two VBA seasons. He averaged 9.5 points per game and had a three-pointer success rate of 37.7 percent. 

He is also a key player for the HCM City basketball team that has won several national championships.

Players like Han Minh will be an advantage for the Vietnamese basketball team at the 31st SEA Games, especially when it lacks players specialising in long throws.

Han Minh and young players like Vo Kim Ban and Antony Sundberd, who have accurate throws from outside the 3-point line, can help big men like Chris Dienker or Nguyen Huynh Phu 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./.