Tue, 23 Aug 1994

Russia to be lone star at Independence Cup

JAKARTA (JP): Russia, fresh from its solid showing at the World Championships in Toronto, Canada, will be the lone star at the fifth Independence Cup basketball tourney to be held in the Senayan indoor stadium from Aug. 25-30.

Ecky Tamlahittu, an official from the Indonesian Basketball Association (Perbasi) announced that Valery Borisov, Igor Tchrov and Sergei Shourev will lead the Russian cakewalk at the six-day event.

The red-hot favorite will fight Asia's top teams from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran, South Korea and the Philippines in a round-robin tournament.

"China's World Championship squad were scheduled to make the trip here, but succumbed to exhaustion," Ecky said. The Chinese team, winner of the Asian Basketball Championship here last year, carved out a piece of history by reaching the quarterfinals for the first time in the world's most prestigious basketball meet.

Russia sprang a surprise by edging out Olympic silver medalist Croatia before being served up to the American Dream Team II.

Indonesia is scheduled to field two teams, the Jakarta City team and one from West Java. American Kirkland Ivory will make his long awaited debut for the Jakarta team at the annual event. Foreign journeymen are being introduced in the new style semi- professional basketball league, which begins next month.

"We are realistic about our chances. Our goal is to gain some valuable experience," Ecky said, adding that he was not afraid that local teams would be humiliated.

Thursday's opening matches pit West Java against Saudi Arabia, while Iran meets South Korea. (hdj)