The Saigon Heat’s pursuit of the ABL 9 title will not include the Dinh brothers.

Taking advantage of the much-discussed change in the eligibility to play as a ‘Local Player,’ the Saigon Heat have so far confirmed the signings of Justin Young, Tran Dang Khoa and Corey Cillia for the ninth season of the ASEAN Basketball League.

This has created great excitement for fans about the possibility of an “All-star” roster full of VBA heritage standouts along with three world imports.  As two of the best Viet kieu players in the league, Tam and Sang Dinh have also been expected to suit up for the team.

Both players are having an amazing season with the Cantho Catfish, leading the team to the best regular season record in the franchise’s history as well as its second VBA Finals in a row where it currently takes a commanding 2-0 lead over the Hanoi Buffaloes. Tam is putting up 17.4 PPG 6.3 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.8 SPG while younger brother Sang is not far behind,  averaging 12.9 PPG 4.8 RPG, 3.3 APG, 2.0 SPG.

Their athleticism, ability to shoot the ball and high basketball IQs would have been well-fitted in Coach Kyle Julius’s small-ball, pace-and-space offensive system.

“I firmly believe in taking my talents elsewhere. I would like to experience and continue to help grow Vietnam basketball with my fellow local players. So for that reason I feel passionate to keep pushing for what I believe in”, Tam added about continuing his career with the locals. The dynamic duo are believed to be reuniting with their head coach Kevin Yurkus in the Thailand Basketball Super League beginning in January 2019.

While this could widely be perceived as a major blow for the fans, it is worth noticing that Saigon Heat still haven’t announced any of their three world imports, who are rumoured to be above the level of those in the past as the coaching staffs are quite confident in their chance to win it all this year despite the team’s current forgettable 0-14 playoffs record in all competitions.

The 9th season of the ASEAN Basketball League will start in November 2018.