Indonesia concluded its 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers run on a winning note by way of a 86-69 triumph over Thailand in a battle of ASEAN rivals, Sunday at the AUF Sports and Cultural Center in Angeles, Pampanga.
Timnas got its groove late in the first half en route to a 22-point lead in the third canto, and then weathered a furious fourth quarter uprising to keep its mastery of the same squad it defeated in the previous window in Bahrain.
“Thailand is a good team. We always have a hard time against them,” said Coach Rajko Toroman. “Today, we played a good game, especially in the first half. We were able to execute well and that’s how we will play in the future.”
Naturalized center Lester Prosper produced 22 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, a steal, and a block in over 37 minutes of play to power the Indonesians, who finished third in Group A behind the Philippines and Korea with a 2-4 record.
“Our target was third in the group and be part in the pre-qualifiers since it’s hard to participate in tournaments in this time of corona,” said Toroman.
Andakara Dhyaksa also had a remarkable showing with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field. Abraham Grahita made 15 points, as Hardianus Lakudu and Agassi Goantara chipped in 10 markers apiece in the win.
Two of Goantara’s points gave Indonesia a 54-32 lead early in the third, but Thailand trimmed the gap afterward and eventually inched within eight, 59-67, after a Nattakam Muanbong triple with 8:41 to go in the fourth.
But Timnas managed to avert a collapse, with Prosper and Dhyaksa conspiring to establish a 73-59 cushion with 7:24 on the clock.
The 6-foot-10 Prosper then went on to help his side apply the finishing touches, leading a 7-0 spurt for an 82-64 advantage approaching the final four minutes as the Indonesians cruised to the 17-point victory.
“They don’t play usually like other teams with man-to-man. They play pressing zone and switch. I’m happy that we were able to get that,” said Toroman.
Meanwhile, Muangboon had 14 points and seven assists to lead Thailand, who went winless in six games in the Qualifiers.
Head coach Chris Daleo, though, was glad about the fight his men showed — the American mentor was extremely disappointed Saturday evening when the 2019 SEA Games silver medalists got blown out by 67 by Korea.
“I was happy with two things about this game. We made adjustments during halftime and they were able to respond to that. I thought the players communicated well and that says a lot about our ball club,” he said.
“Secondly, every player tried to legitimately try. I’m proud of that. People could have pouted but they did not. Those two things I’m really happy about.”
Indonesia 86 – Prosper 22, Dhyaksa 19, Grahita 15, Goantara 10, Lakudu 10, Sitorus 4, Wisnu 3, Kosasih 3, Kokodiputra 0, Saputra 0, Teja 0.
Thailand 69 – Muangboon 14, Jakrawan 13, Ananti 11, Chungyampin 8, Suttisin 8, Jaisanuk 7, Towaroj 6, Charansarn 2, Ghogar 0, Klaewnarong 0, Chanthachon 0.
Quarterscores: 21-18, 49-32, 67-54, 86-69.