Thu, 30 Mar 2000

RI plays down chances of ABC c'ship

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia is pessimistic about qualifying for the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) championship in Lebanon in May in light of the tough competition it will face in the qualifying round in Kuala Lumpur from April 19 to April 23.

Erick Thohir, the team manager of Mahaka Satria Muda, which is representing Indonesia in the event, said on Wednesday Indonesia must face off against four other Southeast Asian countries -- the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore -- for a berth in the finals.

One of the two available berths already has been given to Malaysia, which finished third in the ABC championship last year.

"The competition will be very tough for us. The Philippines is the strongest team, while Thailand is far better than our team. Host Malaysia has been grooming a team for the 2001 Southeast Asian Games for the last two years. It aims to win the gold in the Games, which will be held in Kuala Lumpur," he said.

He also said Singapore had two good young Chinese players on its team, which also was preparing for the 2001 Games.

"I think the Chinese players will be their backbone, not only substitutes," he said after attending a ceremony during which three private institutions donated funds to the Jakarta chapter of the Indonesian Basketball Association (Perbasi).

Indonesia won the bronze medal in the basketball competition at the 1999 Southeast Asian Games in Brunei, defeating Malaysia in the bronze-medal game. The Philippines took the gold and Thailand won the silver medal.

Erick said 12 players would take part in the qualifying round in Kuala Lumpur. They are Mahaka's Amran A. Sinta, Syahrizal Affandi, Dwi Eriano, Wahyu Widayat Jati, Fictor Roring, M. Bayu Radityo, Gagan Rachmat, Poncho, Marlon and Agustinus, Rommy Chandra from Indonesia Muda Texmaco and Nano Sukarma from CSP Jakarta. All of the players are training under Mahaka coach Rastafari Madjid.

Meanwhile, the Dharma Bakti Mahaka Foundation and PT Trigaris Sportindo, the distributor of Adidas sports equipment, contributed Rp 17.5 million (US$2,330) to fund junior basketball tournaments. Also, PT Adi Boga Cipta, the owner of Hanamasa Japanese restaurant, donated Rp 25 million to stage the Hanamasa interschool basketball tournament next month.

Dharma Bakti Mahaka, the owner of the Mahaka club, also donated Rp 45 million to the Jakarta chapter of Perbasi to fund the women's basketball team at the 15th National Games (PON) in Surabaya from June 19 to June 30.

The chairman of the chapter, Suharto, said Jakarta way eying at least one gold at PON, either in the men's or women's event. "With this contribution, we are hoping for two golds."

He also said Erick would be the team manager and Rastafari the coach for the women's team, while Irawan Haryono of Aspac basketball club would manage the men's team, which would be coached by Iman Sulaiman and Abdurrahman Padang of Aspac. (ivy)