A Man of His Word

Na­tional bas­ket­ball ath­lete Daniel Wenas sits down with DAMAN to share some insight into his sport’s com­mu­nity

DA MAN - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy Vicky Tanzil

“EVEN IF TO­DAY YOU MAKE 25 POINTS, OR MAKE A TRIPLEDOUBLE, IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU’LL GET THE SAME NUM­BER TO­MOR­ROW”

Sev­eral months ago, dur­ing the 18th Asian Games in­vi­ta­tion tour­na­ment held at Gelora Bung karno, Jakarta, in­done­sia’s men’s na­tional team de­feated in­dia—one of Asia’s strong­est teams—and were crowned cham­pi­ons. A no­table stand­out at the tour­na­ment was Daniel Wenas, the shoot­ing guard from pelita Jaya Bas­ket­ball club.

“look­ing back, i think this is the first time i wore the in­done­sian bas­ket­ball jersey in Jakarta, in front of many in­done­sians that came to sup­port us. On top of that, singing our na­tional an­them while wear­ing this jersey is also one of the proud­est mo­ments in my life,” Wenas re­calls. “Be­fore this, i wore it when i was a kid dur­ing the FIBA Un­der-18 Asian cham­pi­onship and ASEAN Univer­sity Games in Sin­ga­pore.”

Be­fore this in­vi­ta­tion tour­na­ment, Wenas brought his team to the fi­nal of IBL (in­done­sian Bas­ket­ball league) 2017 and won the ti­tle with them af­ter a hard-fought game against Sa­tria Muda per­tam­ina. “it was one of my fa­vorite games so far,” Wenas points out. “Aside from that, it also showed all the haters what i’m ca­pa­ble of in the field,” he adds, re­fer­ring to a num­ber of par­tic­u­larly harsh cri­tiques thrown at him on so­cial me­dia.

Ac­tu­ally, since he is a suc­cess­ful bas­ket­ball player and thus a pub­lic fig­ure, it’s no sur­prise that Wenas has plenty of haters. “Some­times i won­der, what’s wrong with me? What did i do to get a lot of hate like this,” he asks. “But, the more i think about it, it’s not good for me. Right now my men­tal­ity and mind­set is that i want to make ev­ery­one who sup­port me happy. i’m play­ing for my fam­ily. i’m play­ing for the peo­ple that love and care about me. i’m go­ing to use this to mo­ti­vate me ev­ery sin­gle day.”

Wenas also wanted this kind of men­tal­ity to be­come more preva­lent in in­done­sia’s bas­ket­ball com­mu­nity. “As a bas­ket­ball league, we are still grow­ing. We don’t need the neg­a­tive vibes from you [haters],” he points out. “What we need is a lot of sup­port. For the play­ers, for the clubs. We need a lot of it.” he also touched on the league’s grow­ing recog­ni­tion: “With a lot of for­eign play­ers com­pet­ing in the league, with a for­eign ref­eree for last year’s fi­nal, this is defin­tely proof that we are al­ready in a good di­rec­tion.”

As our con­ver­sa­tion comes to a close, Wenas shares a cou­ple of point­ers for young tal­ents who might be con­sid­er­ing bas­ket­ball as a ca­reer path. “Never stop grow­ing and never stop learn­ing,” he elab­o­rates. “that was the best ad­vice that i re­mem­ber the most and i want to pass this ad­vice to a lot of young play­ers wher­ever they are. And also, you have to have con­sis­tency. Be­cause right now, be­ing con­sis­tent is one of the key as­pects in or­der to be­come a great bas­ket­ball player. Even if to­day you make 25 points, or make a triple-dou­ble, it doesn’t mean that you’ll get the same num­ber to­mor­row. So, con­sis­tency is the key. Aside from that, you also have to stay mo­ti­vated, you have to stay hun­gry for more and you have to stay fo­cused.”

When asked if he him­self is still learn­ing, Wenas doesn’t hes­i­tate: “Def­i­nitely. Why? Be­cause i need to know about my weak­nesses and i need to im­prove. peo­ple say that i’m a shooter, but this doesn’t mean that the learn­ing process has to stop at just shoot­ing. there are a lot of things that needs to be learned and like i said ear­lier, never stop grow­ing!”

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