• The Japan Times


The Japan men’s national basketball team has secured a spot in the 2009 FIBA Asian Championship in August in Tianjin, China.

Japan defeated China 68-63 in the East Asia Basketball Championship semifinals on Saturday in Komaki, Aichi Prefecture.

Takehiko Orimo and Kosuke Takeuchi scored 15 points apiece, while Ryota Sakurai added 14 points and Joji Takeuchi had 11 as new American coach David Hobbs’ team improved to 3-0 in the tournament.

Japan shot 50 percent (20-for-40) from 2-point range and held a 43-40 rebounding edge over China. The Takeuchi twins combined for 26 of Japan’s rebounds, with Joji Takeuchi grabbing 14 boards. The hosts, however, were 16-for-29 at the free-throw line.

On Sunday, Japan will meet South Korea in the championship game, and both teams will move on to next month’s tourney in China. In the third-place contest, China and Taiwan will face off.

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