Bodog sports fans and those of us who are fervent supporters of Indonesian basketball are very optimistic of a bounceback season after a heartwrenching ending to last year's ABL campaign. After suffering a painful 3-0 Finals sweep at the hands of eventual 2013 ABL champs the San Miguel Beermen from neighboring SE Asian basketball powerhouse, the Philippines, the former 2012 ABL champs' the Indonesia Warriors are looking to exact some measure of revenge and look to once regain their lofty billing atop the Asean Basketball League.
Reports that Beerman and 2013 ABL MVP Asi Taulava is seeking a return to the Philippine Basketball Association to finish his storied career has league analysts and Indonesian sports pundits upbeat of the INA Warriors chances of regaining the ABL crown they last won in 2012. The Warriors, the country's premier men's professional basketball team, are a proud and storied franchise, one of the best in the region dating back to their days when the team was then known as Satria Muda Britama, ABL champs in 2012 and runners-up last season.
Satria Muda Britama
A sportsbook review, not from Bodog Indonesia, has recently served notice of the odds greatly favoring the Warriors going all the way to win it all this upcoming ABL season. After placing second to the Beermen with a 16-6 win-loss record after the end of the eliminations last season, the Warriors swept the Westports Malaysia Dragons 3-0 to advance to the ABL Finals in a best of 5 series against SMB. Online sports gambling fans who expected a huge Bodog payout in the event of an Indonesian Warriors upset over the Beermen who were odds-on favorites coming into the Finals series were understandably depressed as their team failed to register a single win in the closely contested series. I myself was reading my Japanese manga when I heard the news that we lost. The team came up short 75-70 in a Game 1 loss and suffered another heartbreaking defeat 66-65 despite leading 65-64 with 22 seconds to play after a superb floater from Stanley Pringle over Beermen import Brian Williams. The Warriors eventually relinquished their crown and the series in a Game 3 loss 70-55 at their homecourt in Mahaka Square.
The Indonesia Warriors, in their end-of-season press conference, had announced that they would be parting ways with American head coach and 2012 Coach of the Year Todd Purves after his contract expired last June 30. Rudolf Tulus, Vice Managing Director of Indonesia Sport Venture, announced the move but reiterated that they were still in the process of looking at coach Purves' possible replacement, and that Management does not have anybody specific in mind to replace Purves as yet.
“We are considering several options and going to interview some coaches but nothing is concrete right now,” said Tulus.
The INA Warriors also recently inked a deal with Li-Ning, one of the biggest sporting goods and apparel brands in China. The Warriors are joining elite company with their team's signing with Li-Ning, who also counts former NBA Finals MVP and 3-time champ Dwyane Wade among its roster of endorsers. One of the top online gambling sites, Bodog88.com in its sportsbook review foresees the Warriors figuring in the fight for all the marbles when the next ABL season unfolds. Tulus has stressed that Management's top priority remains focused on making all the necessary preparations for the upcoming season including re-signing key players in the roster and coaching staff personnel.
“The team is evaluating last season [2013 ASEAN Basketball League season],” admitted Tulus. “We are also looking at re-negotiating contracts with our players for the upcoming season.”
This announcement from Mr. Tulus certainly comes across as great news for Indonesian basketball fans especially since we have just recently celebrated Eid ul-Fitr marking the end of the Holy Month of Fasting for Ramadan. The INA Warriors core is already very competitive, especially with local basketball heroes Mario Wuysang and Christian Ronald "Dodo" Sitepu continuing their heads-up basketball play. We also need to find quality American or European reinforcements to complement the local players' games. A center and a shooting guard combination might be a good idea for Warriors Management to consider. The team will only get better during training camp as the season's opening slowly approaches and with the raucous support of the local fans assured in backing the home team's quest to recapture glory next season, the race to win the ABL title will certainly be a wild and exciting ride all the way to deciding games in the ABL Finals, with the winner emerging as champs. We're hoping that it will be our turn, the INA Warriors turn to go all the way to win the championship this year!