Wed, 17 May 2000

Mahaka SM loses out again in ABC Champions Cup

JAKARTA (JP): Mahaka Satria Muda of Jakarta was forced to head home early after its loss to Al-Ittihad of Saudi Arabia in a group B match in the ABC Champions Cup at Ghazir Club Court in Beirut, Lebanon.

Despite the basketball team's third consecutive loss, SM's team manager Erick Thohir praised his players' performance against the Saudi Arabians, the favorite in the event.

"They played very well, they showed their fighting spirit. But we were outclassed by the Saudi Arabians. Al-Ittihad is superb," he told The Jakarta Post by phone on Tuesday.

The other favorites in the event are Al-Rayan of Qatar and defending champion Sagesse of Lebanon from Group A, he said. Besides Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the Indonesian team was in the same group with Malaysia's Petronas and Al-Manama of Bahrain. Other group A members are Al-Wahda of Syria, Zob Ahan of Iran and Al-Qadsseya of Kuwait.

Erick said his club did not have a chance to finish as runner-up in group A after Al-Ittihad and Al-Manama both won two games. Petronas won one and lost one while Al-Rayan won one game and still has three left to play.

"It's impossible for us to be the runner-up. However, I consider our stint here as successful. The players may obtain more experience after fighting with Asian players, who are taller than them," he said.

Mahaka SM will meet Al-Rayan on Thursday. "We will try to fight them in the first 10 minutes. After that, we will do our best to check them but if their level is far above us, it's over."

He said that three of the 12 players were listed as candidates for ABC All Stars Selection.

The All Stars will visit Manila for a match-up between Asia's top players and the superstar pros from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). The match is scheduled for Aug. 6 at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City, reported.

"The players are I Made Sudiadnyana, Rommy Chandra and Wahyu Widayat. They are included in the list along with 21 other players. The ABC will reduce the number of players to 12 before they fight in the Philippines."

He said he would recommend seven players to the chairman of the Indonesian Basketball Association, Sutiyoso, to be included in the national basketball team for the 2001 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur.

He named the players as Syahrizal Affandi, Fictor G. Roring, Wahyu Widayat, Amran A. Sinta, Dwui Eriano, all from Mahaka Satria Muda, plus Sudiadnyana (Bhinneka Sritex Surakarta) and Rommy (Indonesia Muda Texmaco).

"I recommend the senior players, because they showed their solid cooperation both on and off the court. Let the junior ones fight for the National Games (PON) while the seniors join the national team while they are still capable," he said. (ivy)