The Japan Basketball Association announced its provisional 24-man roster for the upcoming third and final window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers on Tuesday.
The roster consists solely of players in the domestic B. League including stars such as Chiba Jets Funabashi point guard Yuki Togashi, Alvark Tokyo guard Daiki Tanaka and SeaHorses Mikawa sharpshooter Kosuke Kanamaru.
Japan head coach Julio Lamas listed Jets forward Gavin Edwards, Utsunomiya Brex forward Ryan Rossiter and Osaka Evessa forward Ira Brown as naturalized players in the squad.
FIBA relocated the window from the Tokyo metropolitan area to Doha late last month, in part due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases in Japan that prompted the government to declare a second state of emergency in the capital and 10 other prefectures, only one of which has since been released.
Japan’s Group B will compete from Feb. 18-23 with a bye on Feb. 20. The Akatsuki Five will play Malaysia on the first day before facing China, Taiwan, Malaysia and China in the following games.
Japan has completed just one game in the qualifiers — a 96-57 win over Taiwan in Taipei last February. Its other games have been postponed due to the pandemic.
Twelve-man rosters for each participating team will be revealed by the previous day of each game.
The Akatsuki Five will begin their training camp at Tokyo’s National Training Center on Thursday and depart for Doha on a chartered flight on Sunday.
The Asia Cup qualifiers will also serve as an occasion to help develop Japan ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In that tournament’s draw last week, the host country was grouped with reigning world champion Spain, Argentina and a nation to be determined through the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The top two teams in each of the six four-team groups will automatically advance to the Asia Cup finals, which are scheduled to take place in Indonesia in August.
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