Wear the Indonesian jersey with pride
by rick olivares
Wahyu Widayat has had a great career in basketball in Indonesia. In a 14-year career playing in the Indonesia Basketball League, Widayat, playing the four and five spots won six titles with Satria Muda and two to close out his career with M88 Aspac Jakarta. Now calling the shots for the national team, he knows that in the international arena, like his team, he’s still lacking in experience.
“Like many of the countries in Southeast Asia, we’re a football nation,” Widayat underscored. “It’s only in the last five years where we’ve begun to see some growth in the game in Indonesia. Now as early as in junior high school, we have competitions. And there interest is there and that is good for us. But it will take – what – another 10 years before we develop players who can really compete against the Philippines which is the benchmark for all of us here.”
The IBL has 11 teams but the level, noted Widayat, is far from a high-caliber league. Yet. “With the interest and growing support, who knows where we could go?”
This Seaba Championships, the Indonesian coach makes no bones about the gargantuan task ahead of them. “Expectations? Not yet high. The IBL just ended three days ago. So we’re mostly physically and mentally tired. But that is not an excuse. I want to see the effort from the players. There should be pride when you wear the Indonesian jersey.”
His young team will be led by Mario Wuysang, the Indiana, USA-born Indon-American who returned to his native land in 2013 to help grow the game of basketball. “If Mario can transfer his knowledge of the game as well as his experience to his teammates that will help us a lot.”
“Mario might be our best player but were going to need everyone to contribute if we want to create a miracle.”