Alvark Tokyo guard and B. League MVP Daiki Tanaka and two other players have tested positive for COVID-19, the club announced on Friday.
Tanaka as well as point guards Genki Kojima and Shota Tsuyama were found to have contracted the virus after the club administered PCR tests this week.
The Alvark stated that after having all their players and staffers tested on Tuesday, results for the three players did not come in on the same day. Their samples were re-examined on Wednesday before the positive test results were received on Thursday evening.
According to the club, all three have been asymptomatic.
The two-time league champions began preseason training July 21, but have shut down activities indefinitely as a result of the development.
Speaking at an online news conference, Alvark president Kunihiko Hayashi said that the team has done everything possible in order to prevent infections at its practices.
Hayashi added that the three players had basically only traveled between their residences and the practice facility, and the club does not think they acted improperly.
“The coaches have put on mouth guards and shields and the players have kept distance when forming huddles,” Hayashi said of the club’s measures at its practices. “When the players had to drink water, they did so on their own rather than sharing bottles. We’ve changed out balls all the time.”
Hayashi said that Montenegrin head coach Luka Pavicevic and American center Alex Kirk have been in Japan since Aug. 4 but remained at home, having not participated in any team activities.
Tanaka is recognized as one of the best players in the league and captured the Most Valuable Player accolade for the 2019-20 season, which was shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 28-year-old is a regular member of Japan’s national team and competed at last year’s FIBA World Cup in China.
The Alvark were crowned B. League champions in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and finished with the league’s best record last season at 32-9.
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