Matthew Aquino once again returned to the Ajinomoto National Training Center on Tuesday.
A week after spending camp with a select group in preparation for the 2022 Asian Games, the 6-foot-9 Fil-Japanese has been called up once again by the Japan Basketball Association, this time as part of the Akatsuki Five’s 24-man pool for the second window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
This time around, the National University product will not have Shinshu teammate Yuta Okada on his side as he is the only Brave Warrior called up for the window.
Holdovers from the 24-man pool from the last window are Utsonomiya’s Kosuke Takeuchi and Makoto Hiejima; Akita’s Takatoshi Furukawa; Gunma’s Aki Chambers and Kengo Nomoto; Chiba’s Yuki Togashi and Shuta Hara; Tokyo’s Shuto Ando; Ryukyu’s Ryo Terashima; and Mikawa’s Avi Schafer and Yudai Nishida.
Naturalized Japanese players Nick Fazekas of Kawasaki and Ryan Rossiter of Tokyo will make their national team return.
Completing the pool are Kosuke Kanamura of Shimane, Daichi Taniguchi of Tokyo, Naoya Kumagae of Kawasaki, Takuma Sato of Chiba, Koh Flippin of Ryukyu, and Isaiah Murphy of Hiroshima.
Japan is already down 0-2 in Group B after losing both of their games against China in Sendai last November.
The Japanese will face Chinese-Taipei on the 26th and Australia on the 27th in Okinawa.
Just like the Philippines, Japan is already qualified for the tournament proper next year.