Mon, 03 Oct 1994

More import players in 1995 Kobatama

JAKARTA (JP): The semi-professional national basketball league Kobatama plans to draft 22 more foreign players into the league next season to shape up the balance of power among participating clubs.

Chief of the league commission of the national basketball association (Perbasi) Meliono Suwondo said on Saturday that each of the 11 teams will have two imported players.

"The lower ranked teams will have the privilege to choose before the stronger ones," Meliono said, adding that such a ruling is expected to avoid one sided matches.

"The problem is that each team's purchasing power is different," he said. If the 15 Americans and one Canadian that are playing in this season extend their deal, there will be a total of 38 imported players in the 1995 season.

A Hong Kong based company, Spectrum, will again bring in the overseas players for Perbasi.

Meliono said Perbasi will set the limits for height and skill of the foreign cagers at about a grade higher than local players. "We want local talents to learn from the imported and more experienced players," said Meliono.

He did not directly say that the international players have prevailed over the competitions in progress but did admit that his Indonesian players "have difficulty matching their towering rivals."

Pelita Jaya coach Toto Sudarsono earlier expressed his disappointment over Perbasi having failed to meet their deadline in setting acceptable quality standards for foreign players joining the league.

The government decided to allow imported players to join basketball and soccer leagues last year.

Foreign cagers, most of them two meters high, led scoring in almost all 35 matches of the league's first leg that ended on Saturday. They also dominated the selections of most valuable players in every game.

"Players brought from other Asian countries are in fact more feasible for this league," said Meliono. He added that Perbasi had earlier planned to bring in cagers from China and South Korea but the sponsoring companies refused.

"We let each club hire any player it wants just for the sake of sponsorship," said Meliono. The four-leg league, which started last Wednesday and will finish in December, cost the organizers Rp 250 million (US$115,300).

On Saturday, Bima Sakti of Malang, East Java joined defending champion Aspac of Jakarta to seal the first leg unbeaten in their three matches.

Canadian Scott Peterson led Bima Sakti, which lacked American Morgan Wheat, to nail a come-from-behind 89-76 win over fellow East Javanese Petrogres of Gresik. Petrogres is entering the second leg played in Surabaya at the end of this month with three straight losses. (amd)