Prosper to prove himself vs Gilas
MANILA, Philippines — Former PBA import Lester Prosper said the other day he’s coming to prove himself against the “new” Gilas and promised to unleash “a different me” when Indonesia plays the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand in the FIBA Asia Cup third qualifying window at the Clark bubble on June 16-20.
Prosper, 32, made his debut as Indonesia’s naturalized import in a 90-76 win over Thailand in the second window in Bahrain last November but wasn’t content with his performance so in Clark, his mission is redemption.
Prosper is now in Miami and will rejoin the national team in Jakarta on May 27. He’s been training with Kai Sotto under coach Stanley Remy in Miami and if they face off in Clark, he expects a battle. “Coach Stan puts Kai on my team when we do 5x5 scrimmages so I can mentor him,” said Prosper on the EASL Clubhouse platform. “Trust me, skills-wise, Kai has all the tools. I’m seeing him first hand, dunking on two people, working hard. Coach Stan wants him to be more aggressive, to be a beast, to learn how to handle the ball more, shoot the three better. The Philippines got a good one, I can’t wait ‘til he’s 23, it’s scary.”
Whether Sotto or Ange Koume is in the middle, Prosper said he’ll stand his ground. “I know Gilas is a younger team, it’s the new Gilas,” he said. “They play hard, they’re fiery, they shoot, rebound, they’ll get better. I haven’t seen Koume play but I’m ready for anyone. Indonesia hasn’t been good in basketball but Mr. (Erick) Thohir brought me in to bring fire to the team, energy, size, play defense, do a lot of everything. We’re going to war, no more losing by 20, 30 or 50. We’re coming to fight ‘til the end. It won’t be easy. (Indo-American) Brandon (Jawato) won’t play in Clark but he’ll be with us when we play in the Asia Cup in August.”
Prosper had 19 points and 13 rebounds in 34:38 minutes against Thailand last November as teammates Jawato and Abraham Grahita scored 22 each to lead Indonesia in scoring. “No excuses,” he said. “We were quarantined, I had jet lag, I didn’t play my best. But it’ll be different in Clark. I heard Korea is doing a coaching change but that’s not a handicap. From the first to the last man, they’re all shooters and they’ve got (Ricardo) Ratliffe for inside presence. They play at a rapid pace. We’re not taking any team lightly. With (Indonesia) coach Rajko (Toroman), we argue but when he speaks, you listen, he’s like a brother and father figure. We’re both passionate. Coach knows I’m big, athletic and strong but he also uses me for tactical stuff. In Clark, we’re leaving it all on the floor and when it’s over, we’ll show respect to the Philippines, Korea and Thailand, win or lose. It’s all love. I’ve played in 14 countries and I love playing in Asia. I’ll always cherish playing for Terrafirma in the PBA, working with coach John (Cardel). Right now, Indonesia is my home in Asia. I’ve got a job to do and it’s an opportunity to do it on the FIBA world stage.”