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Arki Wisnu hopes FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers will bring Indonesia together
NONTHABURI (FIBA Asia Cup 2021) – Indonesia finished 2018 strongly by securing a spot among the 24 teams at the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers much to the delight of their fans. After the team’s qualification clinching win, team veteran Arki Wisnu couldn’t have looked more satisfied with the the result.
“It feels great,” said Wisnu of Indonesia’s accomplishments. “It’s always a pleasure to be called upon to represent Indonesia. We’re trying to prove Indonesia basketball as a whole, and of course we have our ups and downs but it’s good. It shows that we’re improving as a country so I’m glad to advance.”
The road to the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 for Wisnu and the team has had it’s bumps and bruises, but the 30-year-old veteran knows that it’s all part of the process. Indonesia had started the Eastern Region Pre-Qualifiers with a 70-61 upset loss to Malaysia, but was able to get back on track and finish as the final 4 teams of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers by getting crucial wins over Singapore and Thailand.
“It was a good wake up call,” Wisnu said, referring to the loss to Malaysia. “It was unexpected but we needed it. We had a lot of new young players compared to [before] that haven’t played with us and also are not as experienced playing on the national team level and stuff like that, but it’s not an excuse. I’m just saying that in every competition, every tournament, or every event. we’re just trying to do our best and trying to improve every time.”
During the first 3 games of the tournament, Indonesia had suffered losses to Malaysia and Guam, putting them in a tight space to get at least one win in their final two contests. Wisnu had been averaging only 5.3 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in those three games and the team needed more from everybody with games against Singapore and Thailand coming up.
“We had one goal,” emphasized Wisnu on how big the last two games were. “We knew that this was do-or-die so everybody adjusted. There was a bit of a struggle with the adjustments, but we were able to talk and regroup. That’s the good thing about this group of guys. we’re able to adjust right away.”
The last couple of games saw Indonesia beat Singapore and Thailand by 10 and 6 points, respectively, with Wisnu raising his level of production. In the final two games, the 6’2” bullish guard churned in an average of 15.0 points and 5.5 rebounds on a blistering 57.1% shooting from the field.
Now that they are into the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers, Indonesia can look forward to reigniting the love for basketball in their country. With an opportunity to host games for other Asian basketball nations on their home turf in the Qualifiers, fans will be able to get a first-hand experience of watching their national team play.
“I think it’s great to be able to bring back that atmosphere to Jakarta again like in the Asian Games. It’s good for the Indonesian basketball community and for the country.”
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Disappointed that we lost but at the same time still happy that we still advance to the next round because of the point system...I thought we had a good crowd vs the Thailand game but last night vs Mongolia 🔥🔥 Sheeesh Thank y’all for coming out and supporting the team 🙏🏼🙏🏼 You guys were awesome #KasihYangTerbaik #AsianGames2018 #QuarterFinalsBound #Blessed #Grind #BallLife #HoopDreams #ArkiWisnu #33 . . . 📸 @ariyakurniawan16
They will also get to visit other countries as well – an experience which while veterans like Wisnu are familiar with, can be valuable for the next generation of ballers on the team.
“It’s also good for us to to play away,” says Wisnu. “It’s an experience for the younger players to learn how to play in that atmosphere away with such a big crowd. It’s good for them and it’s just good for us as a whole.”
“It’ll brings us together. We have an event that the country can cheer us on, so I’m looking forward to that.”