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2021 FIBA Asia Cup

Gilas can’t take Prosper, Grahita-less Indonesia lightly, says Mark Dickel

Indonesia may not have Lester Prosper in the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 Qualifiers’ first window, but that doesn’t make Gilas Pilipinas coach Mark Dickel less worried about their Southeast Asian rivals.

For the Kiwi mentor, there are still other pieces of the Timnas puzzle the Filipino cagers have to solve besides the 6-foot-10 center, whose naturalization process is still incomplete.

“Obviously, that (Prosper’s absence) changes things for us a little bit as far as how we prepare,” said Dickel.

“But ultimately, they’ve got more than enough to give us trouble out there.”

It showed last Thursday in Indonesia’s clash with South Korea at Mahaka Arena in Jakarta. Abraham Grahita put up 25 points, though it came in a losing effort as they took a 76-109 beating.

Grahita won’t be around for Sunday’s match, though.

In a report by Indonesia’s Liputan6, he has been suspended indefinitely due to his behavior during the post-game presser of Thursday’s game.

That could mean one less problem for Gilas, but the team refuses to be complacent. After all, other veterans such as Andakara Prastawa and Kevin Sitorus care there to step up for Rajko Toroman’s crew.

Prastawa produced 14 points, while Sitorus made 11 markers and five rebounds versus the Koreans, whom they actually challenged early when they led 27-21 after the opening frame.

“We gotta try and take them out of their patterns and sets a little bit and make it harder for their shooters … And especially playing at home, if they hit a few, we can be in trouble,” Dickel said.

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Gilas is the favorite side in the upcoming clash versus the team it beat for the gold in last year’s SEA Games, but Dickel still expects a tough match ahead.

“I expect it to be a close game, a difficult game,” he said. “But it will be really good for us. I feel like the last couple of weeks of practice, we made huge strides.

“Sunday’s a chance to prove that.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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