Warriors’ Season Hangs in the Balance With Must-Win Game 2 at Home
Within touching distance of the Asean Basketball League title for the second time in three seasons, the Indonesia Warriors are determined not to let another visiting team celebrate on their home court.
The Warriors face a must-win Game 2 on Saturday against the San Miguel Beermen, who lead the best-of-three finals 1-0. Tip-off at Mahaka Square in Sportsmall Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, is 3 p.m.
A home win will send the series to the Philippines for a deciding Game 3 on June 30. A Beermen triumph will leave Indonesia as the runner-up again, with then-Satria Muda Britama falling 3-0 to the Philippines Patriots in the 2009-10 season.
“We played a tough Game 1 and we’re ready to bounce back in Game 2. At this point, you are who you are as a team. There’s great deal of changes to make, only minor adjustments. With the adjustments and the effort we make, I hope it will be enough to tie the series,” Warriors coach Todd Purves said.
Indonesia came into the finals on a roll. Prior to their 86-83 loss in Game 1 on June 16, the Warriors had won seven straight games to close out the regular season and sweep the Patriots 2-0 in the semifinals.
With a playoff place in doubt after an 88-86 loss at the expansion Saigon Heat on April 4, Indonesia righted its ship and sailed into the last four. Its winning streak included an important breakthrough — a 104-79 victory against the Patriots in Manila on April 21, the team’s first ABL win in the Philippines.
Their first encounter aside, the series between the Warriors and Beermen this season has been tight. After the Philippines side won 77-61 in Jakarta on Feb. 18, the next three games — all Beermen victories — were decided by four points or less. The Warriors lost 81-77 on the road and 71-69 at home before the Game 1 defeat.
Purves said he expected to have his full squad available after forward Evan Brock recently completed his recovery from a groin injury.
“I’m feeling good. The doctors and trainers have been doing a great job. My movement is good,” Brock said.
“We have our backs against the wall on Saturday. We have to focus more and execute well. We have to play smarter also. We are basketball players, and if you don’t love this part of the game, you should not be playing.”
The Beermen, meanwhile, are on the verge of a title in their first season in the ABL. Coach Bobby Parks said his team knew the scale of the task ahead of it.
“The first game of the series didn’t surprise me that it went down to the wire because there are two great teams here. I knew coming into the series it wouldn’t be easy. I figured all the games would come down the wire. It’s a matter of who makes a shot and who doesn’t,” he said.
Regardless of who takes the title, the Beermen and Warriors will represent Southeast Asia at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Lebanon in October.