Indonesian national basketball player Abraham Damar Grahita was immediately delisted from the national team’s roster in the ongoing 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, part of the way to qualify for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, after making a facial expression that was deemed unfavorable during a press conference.
In the post-match press conference after Indonesia lost 109-76 to South Korea in the first of qualifiers against South Korea in Jakarta on Thursday, Abraham, who became the star of Team Indonesia by scoring 25 points and making four assists, seemed unable to contain his disapproval over a statement made by coach Rajko “Toro” Toroman.
Abraham’s expression drew negative response from the public as the press conference was streamed online. Hours later, the 24-year-old posted a public apology on his social media account.
“My sincerest apologies to all, @perbasi.ina @official_timnasbasket, coach Toro and the people of Indonesia who may feel harmed and hurt over things I did during the press conference last night.
“I made a mistake that is unacceptable. Please allow me to take a lesson from this for making me a better person. Once again, I apologize. Thank you for your kind attention,” wrote Abraham in a form of an Instastory on his official Instagram account, @abrahamdg, as quoted by on Friday.
The Indonesian national team, however, took the incident seriously as reflected in its immediate reaction in delisting Abraham from the national squad.
“Timnas [the national squad] has reprimanded Abraham for being imprudent and, as a lesson for him, we have delisted Abraham from the national nteam as of today [Friday] until further notice. We are waiting for sanctions from the Perbasi [Indonesian Basketball Association] to be given to Abraham Damar,” team manager Maulana Tamrela said in a statement on Friday.
“Earning the trust to play for the national team is the highest achievement for a basketball player in Indonesia. All national players are expected to behave well in public, as well as in international events as they are representing the country,” he added.
On Sunday, Indonesia is to play the second match of the qualifiers against the Philippines.
In Thursday’s post-match interview, Abraham seemed to have trouble hiding his disappointment over the final results, despite his stellar performance. “I have nothing to say about making 25 points. [We] lost anyway, so it meant nothing,” he said.
Apart from the incident, Abraham made an important note during the press conference, targeting Indonesia’s poor ability to manage the sport, especially in setting up a proper domestic competitive atmosphere to build a decent national team.
“The coach [Toroman] talked about us playing against a team that is 50 levels beyond us in terms of the world ranking. However, for me, instead of looking for scapegoats or [saying a] lack of naturalized players [is the cause], it is more important to look at our development and competition system that needs an upgrade.
“People can say that FIBA’s rankings are just numbers, but statistics never lie,” said Abraham, referring to Indonesia’s low ranking as one of the reasons for the loss.
Indonesia was put in group A in the Asia Cup’s qualifiers alongside the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand.
In the FIBA world’s rankings, Indonesia is 88th, while South Korea is 30th and the Philippines is 31st. In the meantime, Thailand is ranked 105th. (rdi/nkn)