Japan men, women triumph in basketball exhibition series openers

Staff Report

Atsuya Ota, a Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix center, scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Japan men’s national basketball team defeated the Philippines 86-67 on Friday at Xebio Arena in Sendai.

Coach Kimikazu Suzuki’s club is preparing for the upcoming FIBA Asia Championship in August in Manila.

Japan took a 35-28 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Guard Keijuro Matsui, who played college ball at Columbia University, sank 4 of 5 3s in a 16-point performance, Kosuke Kanamaru poured in 14 points and veteran post player Kosuke Takeuchi chipped in with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Makoto Hiejima had four assists and four steals, and Naoto Tsuji also handed out four assists.

In the earlier women’s exhibition, Japan routed Mozambique 105-39.

Leading 21-12 after the opening quarter, coach Tomohide Utsumi’s club put the game out of reach by outscoring the visitors 30-5 in the second quarter.

Mozambique trailed 82-30 entering the fourth quarter.

Michiko Miyamoto scored a team-high 23 points and nailed 7 of 11 3-pointers for Japan, which had five players reach double figures in scoring, including Mutya Mori’s 13 and Wang Cenjing’s 12. Kumiko Oba and Kana Motoyama each scored 11 points. Asami Yoshida dished out 10 assists, and Emi Kudeken and Yuko Oga both had five.

Japan finished 13-for-26 from 3-point range and converted 29 of 38 shots from inside the arc.

The four teams compete against on Saturday afternoon at Xebio Arena before closing out the weekend with a pair of Sunday games at Yoyogi National Gymnasium No. 2, with the women’s game scheduled to tip off at 1 p.m., followed by a 3:30 start for the men.