Wed, 21 May 2003

Bogor to host basketball league second round

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The eight teams involved in the Premier League of the national amateur basketball championship are set to resume their competition with the second of four 4-day series in Bogor, West Java, on Wednesday.

Halim Kediri leads the standings after the first series in Surabaya early this month.

Pacific Caesar Surabaya and Bogor Raya follow in second and third place respectively. However, Pacific has played one less game than the four that Halim Kediri and Bogor Raya have played.

The Bogor round will kick off with local team Inaco Satria Padjadjaran taking on Utama Victory.

Inaco, which was winless in its four games in Surabaya and is struggling at the bottom of the standings, but hoping for a resurgence after a dismal early run. The team's coach Ferry Sabam Samosir is pinning his hopes on a renewed intensity from the players.

"The opening series was disappointing for us. But I did not expect too much from them as nearly half the team is made up of newcomers," Ferry said during a press conference here on Tuesday.

"This time around the preparation has been better. I know we are just a small team but we have a strong will to maintain our existence in the competition," he said.

Utama Victory manager Agus Hendry Susanto, who used the occasion to call for the Indonesian Basketball Association (Perbasi) to apply a strict policy over player transfers, said that the team had been well-prepared for the first round in its campaign to finish in the top four after all is said and done.

"We have been training well, practicing seven or eight times a week," he said.

The third series will be held in Yogyakarta and the fourth in Jakarta, both in June.

Utama Victory fared unconvincingly in the opening series, winning just one game and losing twice, with Agus attributing that to the absence of two of his starting players -- Mahmud Widodo and Danang.

The two players have moved to Citra Satria, a member of the professional Indonesian Basketball League (IBL), reportedly in an "unethical" transfer procedure.

Agus said the dubious signing by Citra Satria was unprofessional as the Jakarta-based club lured the two out without approaching the Utama Victory management.

"The Citra Satria management has realized its fault and apologized. But as the negotiation on the transfer fee was underway, they provoked the players into leaving Utama Victory to join them," Agus said.

He said that he had met with the IBL organizer to act against the club and the players.

Bella Erwin Harahap, a Perbasi official, said Citra Satria should not include Mahmud and Danang in its lineup when the IBL begins play this week.

"A player is eligible to play for his new club if he has already obtained a letter of release from his old club," he said.