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With Just Few Games Left, VBA Cancels 2021 Basketball Season

There is more to life than ball.

In a move that shouldn't surprise anyone, on August 28, the Vietnam Basketball Association (VBA) posted on their Facebook page that they were canceling all games and activities for the remainder of 2021. 

For more than 70 days, VBA players, coaches, referees and staff have been in Nha Trang in semi-isolation to prepare for regular-season games, as well as other activities to promote youth recreation. All events were to take place without spectators and be broadcast on television and online.

The so-called "bubble" in Nha Trang involved frequent testing and quarantined living arrangements. While the games have been taking place without major issues, the decision to cancel the season was made, according to the announcement, due to logistical constraints relating to contract duration with foreign experts, referees, coaches and players.

According to Vietnam News, the last game in the now-cancelled season took place on August 16, when the Thang Long Warriors beat Nha Trang Dolphins 80-71 to clinch a spot in the semifinals. The other three playoff spots were still undetermined.

Even before the current COVID-19 outbreak, the league's regular play had been disrupted. The 2020 season was repeatedly delayed and when it finally debuted in November, rather than traveling between the team's five home cities as normal, all games were played in a District 12 movie studio in Saigon. Even without active community cases of the virus at the time, attendance was strictly limited and a variety of safety measures were in place.

While necessary, the decision to suspend the current season comes as a setback to a league that has been steadily growing in popularity since its founding in 2016. The league originally began with only five teams, but last year it added its seventh: the Nha Trang Dolphins.

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