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Tiebreaker Times

19th Asian Games

Japan unveils new set of Akatsuki for Asiad

Japan include only one player from the Akatsuki team that competed in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 for the upcoming 19th Asian Games.

Instead, the Japan Basketball Association will field a younger team  for the continental meet, set to take place in Hangzhou, China, beginning on September 23.

Koya Kawamata of Shiga will be the only holdover for Japan. He played four games in the World Cup.

Three veterans will lead the squad, with Nagoya Diamond Dolphins’ sharpshooter Takumi Saito as the headliner. He will be joined by Keita Kawamura from Ryukyu and Ko Kumagai from Akita.

The rest of the team will consist of young talents: Ryo Terashima from Hiroshima, Kazuki Hosokawa from San-en, Yo Nishino from Yokohama, Raita Akaho from Akita, Shinji Takashima from Utsunomiya, Masato Ichikawa from Shizuoka, and Java Yoneyama from Toyama.

Completing the squad is NBA Academy prospect Yuto Kawashima.

Tom Hovasse will not be in charge of the team, instead passing the reins to former NBA pro Corey Gaines.

Even during Japan’s World Cup preparations, the Asiad-bound squad has been training at the Ajinomoto National Training Center since June in preparation for the quadrennial meet.

Matthew Aquino from Shinshu was also part of the pool but couldn’t begin training with the team due to the passing of a relative.

Japan is aiming to improve upon its seventh-place finish in Jakarta in 2019 and is placed in Group D alongside Indonesia, Qatar, and South Korea.

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