The Cambodia Basketball Federation (CBF) announced the passing of long-time national team member Sophoeun Oeun early last Thursday following a brief illness in his home country of the United States.
Oeun, popularly known as “Sop,” was a native of Fresno, California and among some of the first foreign-born Cambodian players to venture out and play for their heritage’s national team, helping progress the basketball program and paving the way for future generations.
Despite not having any prior college nor professional experience, Oeun’s 6-foot-4 frame and US-developed skillset were crucial for Cambodia’s men’s national basketball teams across multiple tournaments since his 2011 debut. Additionally, his work ethic and personality were also highly regarded by coaches and teammates.
During the 2011 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), Oeun impressed by leading the tournament in scoring with over 27 points per game. His performance in Jakarta helped earn himself a roster spot on the Saigon Heat as an ASEAN heritage import for the team’s debut ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) season in 2012. The signing also served as a historic achievement as he became the league’s first non-Filipino heritage import.
Oeun’s sudden passing leaves behind a young family including his wife Theavuth and three children: Emori (5 years old), Reece (1 year old) and Cameron (6 months old). A GoFundMe campaign has been started by one of his coworkers to help assist the Oeun family during this difficult time. The fundraiser can be accessed here to offer your support.
ASEAN Sports sends our deepest and sincerest condolences to Oeun’s loved ones and wish that you remain strong and faithful in this tragic loss.