LONDON – Japan’s men’s basketball team was drawn in the same group as Serbia and four other teams in the Olympic qualifying tournament this July following the draw by FIBA on Tuesday.
Japan, ranked 48th in the world, will first meet Latvia and the Czech Republic in Belgrade. If the Japanese men finish in the top two out of the three, they will advance to the semifinals where they could face world No. 6 Serbia, Angola or Puerto Rico. Only the final winner will secure a berth in Rio de Janeiro.
Eighteen teams have been split into three groups of six for the final rounds in Belgrade, Manila and Turin. Japan will be vying for its first Olympic appearance since the 1976 Games in Montreal.
“Asian teams haven’t won a single game in the final round of the Olympic qualifiers so far, but we’ll be readying ourselves to get that win,” coach Kenji Hasegawa said through the Japan Basketball Association.