Wed, 15 Mar 2000

Mahaka aims to qualify for ABC championship

JAKARTA (JP): Mahaka Satria Muda aim to qualify for the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) championship by reaching the final of its prequalifying round in Kuala Lumpur next month.

Mahaka's general manager and corporate affairs officer Erick Thohir told a media briefing here on Tuesday that the club was very honored to receive the Indonesian Basketball Association's (Perbasi) appointment to represent the country in the event.

"We will try our best for the country. If we can finish as either champion or runner-up in the prequalifiers, we can represent the Southeast Asian region in the ABC championship in Lebanon from May 14 to May 21," he said.

"But in the 1999 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games we could only finish third, with the strongest squad that we had at that time. Hopefully, in the prequalifiers we can do better than that," he added.

Perbasi choose Mahaka, the 1999 A Mild Kobatama national league champions, to represent the country in Kuala Lumpur in the event from April 19 to April 23.

Indonesia earned a bronze medal in the 1999 Games in Brunei Darussalam, beating Malaysia in the playoffs. The Philippines took the gold while Thailand won the silver medal.

Erick said he wanted young players to learn valuable lessons by competing in the event.

"The competition is good for Indonesian basketball players because Indonesia wants to be the champion in the 2001 SEA Games. Competition is really important to sharpen their skills."

Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore have confirmed their competition in the event. The organizers are currently waiting for confirmation from Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Erick said Indonesia had a 30-70 chance of beating the Philippines, which is regarded as the most powerful team in the region. But Indonesia would have a good chance against Thailand and Malaysia.

Mahaka's head coach Rastafari H. Madjid will name 12 players to fill the lineup. Mahaka has invited six players from other clubs in addition to its 14 players as a part of its selection process for the event.

The six players are Hari Suharsono (CLS Surabaya), Pek King Dhay (Pacific Bank Swadesi Surabaya), Antonius Joko Endratmo and I Gde Agus Wahyudi (Panasia Indosyntec Bandung), Rommy Chandra (Indonesia Muda Texmaco Jakarta) and Nano Sukarma (CSP Jakarta).

Only Rommy and Nano have agreed to join the selection process. (ivy)