The Japan Basketball Association announced the men’s national team roster for the upcoming FIBA Asia Championship on Friday.
Star veteran point guard Yuta Tabuse, 34, of the Link Tochigi Brex, headlines the 12-man squad, which also features some versatile outside players, including teammates Kosuke Kanamaru and Makoto Hiejima of the reigning NBL champion Aisin SeaHorses and Toyota Alvark perimeter marksman Keijuro Matsui.
Aisin point guard Ryoma Hashimoto, who’s known for his stingy defensive play, has made the top national team for the first time. For its inside game, head coach Kenji Hasegawa selected the Hitachi Sunrockers’ Joji Takeuchi and the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix’s Atsuya Ota, the only bj-league player on the team.
Hayabusa Japan will enter its seventh and final training camp from Monday before leaving for Changsha, China, the site for the Sept. 23-Oct. 3 tournament in which the gold medalist will earn an automatic berth in next summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers will advance to the final world Olympics qualifier next year.
Japan is in Group A in the 16-team tournament along with Iran, Malaysia and India. It will face Iran in its opening game on Sept. 23.
The Japan national team finished in eighth place with a 2-8 record in the nine-team William Jones Cup in Taiwan, which wrapped up this past Sunday.
The Japan men finished ninth in the last Asia Championship in 2013. The last time it advanced to the gold medal game was in 1997.
Last week, the Japan women’s national team punched a ticket to Rio by winning the FIBA Asia Women’s Championship in Wuhan, China. The squad also captured the 2013 continental title.
Japan men’s squad: Yuta Tabuse, guard, Brex; Makoto Hiejima, guard, SeaHorses; Atsuya Ota, center, Phoenix; Ryoma Hashimoto, guard, SeaHorses; Kosuke Kanamaru, guard, SeaHorses; Joji Takeuchi, forward, Sunrockers; Keijuro Matsui, guard, Alvark; Gaku Arao, forward, Jets; Daiki Tanaka, guard, Alvark; Takatoshi Furukawa, guard, Brex; Ryumo Ono, forward, Jets; Kenta Hirose, forward, Sunrockers.
Coach: Kenji Hasegawa
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