The Saigon Heat successfully pulled off a thrilling comeback versus the Hanoi Buffaloes to escape the intimidating Bach Khoa Arena with a 72-71 win on Thursday night.

However, the hottest topic among Vietnam’s basketball communities right now is neither the Heat’s epic comeback nor David “Viet” Arnold’s exceptional 29 point performance. All eyes are now on a major mistake from the officials.

For an entertaining back-and-forth match such as this, viewers tend to be dragged along by the fast pace of the game, hence, giving them a feeling that time passes quickly. Ironically, time literally passed faster than usual in the Heat versus Buffaloes game Thursday night when the duration of the match was cut short to just 36 minutes and 12 seconds instead of the usual 40 minutes.

The missing 3 minutes and 48 seconds happened in the second quarter of the match. After a scoring run by the Buffaloes, Heat head coach David Singleton quickly called his first timeout in the second quarter with the game clock sitting at 5:48.

In this screencap, the clock is stopped at 5:48 as Heat players make their way to the bench for the timeout.

However, after the timeout, the game clock was mysteriously set to only 2:00 minutes remaining to end the first half. Both teams continued the game normally without officials noticing this huge mistake.

Here, the ball has been inbounded after the timeout with the clock reading 1:57 left to play in the half.

On Friday morning, the VBA finally made a public announcement towards the matter stating that it was an unusual, yet serious mistake from the table officials and strict discipline would be applied.

Frankly, basketball communities were not 100% satisfied with the announcement. Some are doubting whether this was an honest mistake from the officials or not.

If the table referees forgot to pause the game clock during the timeout, it still wouldn’t explain why more than three minutes went missing when the elapsed time between the last possession prior to the timeout and the first possession after the timeout only came out to around 1:35 minutes in real time. Even if this were the case, shouldn’t lead referee, Mr. Dominique B. Pomar, be able to find out immediately when he signaled to start the clock?

At this point, we are still waiting for the official announcement from the Vietnam Basketball Federation (VBF).

In a competitive sport like basketball where every second counts, who knows what a difference of 3 minutes and 48 seconds could have on the result of the match?