MATTHEW Aquino won't be part of the Akatsuki Five squad that will play China in the first of the two-game series in the 2023 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers at Xebio Arena in Sendai.
The Shinshu Brave Warriors reserve center, who was called up for the 24-man pool, was not part of coach Tom Hovasse's 12-man roster for the Saturday game.
National team staples Makoto Hiejima, Yuki Togashi, Kosuke Takeuchi, Avi Koki Schafer, and Tenketsu Harimoto spearhead the roster as Japan aims to seize early leadership in Group B.
All not lost for Aquino
Fighting Eagles Nagoya's Luke Evans will serve as the naturalized player for this window, with Takumi Saito (Nagoya Diamond Dolphins), Aki Chambers (Gunma Crane Thunders), Yuma Fujii (Kawasaki Brave Thunders), Yudai Nishida (SeaHorses Mikawa), and Takatoshi Furukawa (Akita Northern Happinets) completing the lineup.
Aquino's Shinshu teammate Yudai Okada also got a nod to play for Japan in this game.
Nonetheless, the son of PBA legend Marlou Aquino still has another shot to be part of the Akatsuki Five with Fiba allowing roster changes for the second game set on Sunday, still in the same venue.
Meanwhile, South East Melbourne Phoenix's Zhou Qi headlines China's 12-man roster for the game. He will be tasked to lead the squad alongside veterans Guo Ailun, Zhou Peng, and Wu Qian.
Joining the Du Feng-mentored Team Dragon are Xu Jie and Zhao Rui (Guangdong Southern Tigers), Zhao Jiwei, Zhang Zhenlin, and Han Dejun (Liaoning Flying Leopards), Hu Jinqiu and Sun Minghui (Zhejiang Guangsha Lions), and Abdusalam Abdurexit (Xinjiang Flying Tigers).
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