Despite dealing with fatigue from a lack of game practice and early shooting woes, a "fantastic" Yuta Watanabe needs to continue to play as he did in Japan's opening loss to Germany at the FIBA Basketball World Cup, according to head coach Tom Hovasse.

Speaking after Germany triumphed 81-63 over the tournament co-host on Friday, Hovasse had nothing but praise for his star player, who had missed all of Japan's World Cup warm-up games since spraining his ankle in an exhibition win over Angola on Aug. 15.

The Phoenix Suns swingman led Akatsuki Japan with 20 points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal while looking like the only Japanese player able to go toe-to-toe with the star-studded German team for much of the first half at Okinawa Arena.