INDONESIA may have gotten the needed reinforcements heading to its titular showdown with Gilas Pilipinas for the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship.
Still, coach Wahyu Widayat believes the host remains the odds-on favorite to retain its title.
“For me, I’ll just take the experience, because to be honest, the Philippines is stronger than us,” he said on Wednesday.
The admission came after Fiba-Asia, which sanctions the week-long meet, cleared naturalized player Jamarr Johnson and and US-born Indon Arki Wisnu to play for the team after missing its first four outings.
Johnson and Wisnu finally made their tournament debut on Wednesday, scoring 17 and seven points, respectively, in a 123-50 Indonesian rout of Myanmar.
The victory gave the Indons a 5-0 record going to their highly-anticipated encounter with the Filipinos.
Although the entry of Johnson and Wisnu made his team deeper and better, there remains a huge disparity between the Philippines and Indonesia, Widayat admitted.
“You got good talent and good size,” the Indonesian coach pointed out.
Wiadayat also hinted fatigue may be catching up with the Indons after playing its first four games behind a nine-man rotation, with Wisnu and Johnson yet to get their clearance and center Adhi Pratama Prasetyo Putra failing to suit up due to injury.
“With only nine players in the whole competition is very tough,” said Widayat, a friend of Blackwater assistant coach Bong Ramos, who once served as head mentor in the Indonesian Basketball League (IBL).
Still, Widayat vowed to give the host country a good fight, hopefully for the entire 40 minutes.
“I expect it to be a good game because I think we’re the top two teams now,” he stressed.