09 - 15
June 2024
3 Yesaya Michael (PJB), 2 James Dickey (PJB)
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Pelita Jaya's Dickey wants to keep on winning for Indonesia basketball

DUBAI (UAE) - When James Dickey smiles, he smiles.

His grin spreads from ear to ear, showing as many teeth in his mouth as he possibly can.

We know this because we saw it today at the end of the Basketball Champions League Asia (BCL Asia) game between Pelita Jaya and Shahrdary Gorgan.

And he more than had a valid reason to have that big of a smile on his face. His team, the Indonesian club Pelita Jaya had just beaten Iranian champions Gorgan, 97-90. It was the first win for a club from Indonesia in Asia's flagship club competition since 2009 when it was called the Asia Champions Cup.

"I've probably been off the court for about like seven or eight minutes, so it hasn't completely set in yet," said Dickey in the post-game press conference directly after playing every second in a game where he put up 40 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and a block.

"We want to continue to win and continue to show the world that Indonesia and Pelita Jaya are serious."


His 40 points currently stands as the most in this BCL Asia. His 17 rebounds is also tied for most in the competition so far - a record he set himself in the previous game.

"Right now, I just want to talk about the team and the country of Indonesia. I'm just so happy, I'm so happy to be a part of something special," he also said. "I love the guys. I love the coach and we worked so hard."

"You know, we're the underdogs. No one expected us to come out here and win. So it just feels that much better, when we prove everybody wrong and we get a great team win."

"I'm just really happy for the club and, like I said, the country of Indonesia."

From Dickey's display of passion for representing the club and, in turn, the country, you might have assumed that he's enjoyed a lengthy tenure in Indonesia. From the way you see him engage with his teammates during the game in the huddle or after the game while in celebration, you might have thought that they've known each other for years.

However, he's only been with the team since late May. And this entire journey is his first time on this side of the world.

"It's my first time in Asia so everything is new to me, but I'm blessed to be here, man," he said.

What made the win much sweeter were the Indonesian fans at the Sheikh Saeed Bin Maktoum Sports Hall in Dubai. Their cheers grew louder and louder with each passing minute in the game that Pelita Jaya still held control of the lead and finally erupted along with the sound of the final buzzer.

"It feels like we were home like bringing Indonesian people here so thanks to the crowd too, that we could get this win," said team captain Andakara Prastawa.

That just goes to show how much this win meant for everyone from the players themselves to the fans to everyone involved, especially those that have been in the Indonesia basketball scene for so long.

"I played basketball also for the national team and then now I become a coach," said Pelita Jaya head coach Johannis Winar. "I have belonged in the Indonesia basketball and then now I can represent Indonesia in Asia, for me, I'm very proud for my country. For the basketball community in Indonesia and also for the Indonesia Basketball League.

"So in the future, we can more and more level up, level up, level up, our performance. Each year we are hoping that one of the Indonesia team can keep on performing in this level of Asia."

The weight of getting that first win is off the chests of Pelita Jaya now and their next goal is even more challenging. Only two teams can make it out of the Group Phase here in BCL Asia 2024 and the race is tight in Pelita Jaya's Group B. Just like getting this upset over Gorgan, making it to the Semi-Finals would be a huge accomplishment, not only for Pelita Jaya, but for Indonesia basketball.

"The first Indonesian team to win BCL Asia or, at least, go to the Semi-Finals or Final, that would be [ so big] for the Indonesian culture, too," said Prastawa.

"It's for Indonesian basketball. It will motivate the young players. It will be impactful if we win or we advance until - we don't know until the Final or maybe even the championship - but it will be impactful for Indonesian basketball."

Whether they advance to the Semi-Finals or not is not entirely in their hands at the moment, but all they can do is to make sure that they win their game against KCC Egis on June 12 at 3:30 PM (GMT +4).

Man of the hour James Dickey made it clear what his intentions are for that game:

"Our team is happy but we want to win our game on Wednesday," he said.

"We want to win that game," he emphasized.

"We want to win that game," he repeated.

"We want to get to the final four."

"We definitely don't feel satisfied. We're happy today, but we want to continue to have success.

"We want to continue to win and continue to show the world that Indonesia and Pelita Jaya are serious."