If Satria Muda Britama is going to fulfill its ambition to win the inaugural Asean Basketball League, a new pair of hands will have to help lead it there.
With four games remaining in the regular season, the four-time defending Indonesian Basketball League champion parted company with starting point guard Rensy Bajar.
In his place, it brought in Mario Wuysang from IBL rival Garuda Flexi Bandung. Mario was a free agent after Garuda released him from his contract following the preseason IBL Tournament.
Satria Muda coach Fictor Roring said the decision to release Bajar was made after the teamâ€™s 69-58 ABL win over the Thailand Tigers at Bangkokâ€™s Nimibutur National Stadium on Dec. 20. The 33-year-old Filipino returned home the next day.
â€śI talked to Bajar after the Tigers game and he understood the decision,â€ť Fictor said on Wednesday.
The coach refused to elaborate further about the move.
â€śThere are reasons for that, but the main point is we want to make an improvement in our team,â€ť Fictor said.
Bajar was the second player released from Satria Mudaâ€™s initial ABL roster. Center Theo Little lasted only a few games, making a minimal impact before being replaced by Nakiea Miller.
Satria Muda was Bajarâ€™s second Indonesian club after helping lead Bhinneka Solo to the 2005 IBL Tournament title. He did not stick around for league play, though, after the Indonesian Basketball Association backed off on its plans to allow foreigners to play in the IBL.
Mario, 30, signed a two-month contract and will only feature in the ABL, though Fictor said an extension was possible if he performed well.
He joined the teamâ€™s training on Friday. He only has a few days to settle in before Satria Muda travels to the Kuala Lumpur Dragons on Tuesday. The team finishes the regular season by hosting Brunei on Jan. 10, traveling to Brunei on Jan. 16 and hosting the Dragons on Jan. 23.
Mario, regarded as one of the most stylish guards in Indonesia, began his professional career with Aspac Jakarta in 2003. After winning two titles with Aspac, he moved to Garuda in 2008 and helped it win the IBL Tournament that year.
In a statement, Mario pledged to do his best for his new club and help it in its pursuit of an ABL championship.
The top four teams advance to the ABL playoffs, which are scheduled to begin in February.