WILL Rui Hachimura be in tow when Japan's national team flies to Clark for the third window of the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers from June 16 to 20?
Reports emanating from Japan raised the possibility of Hachimura joining the Akatsuki Five in the final window of the qualifiers after the Washington Wizards' season was ended in five games by the Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs.
Hachimura, 23, had a standout sophomore season in the NBA as the 6-foot-8 forward posted 13.8 points on 48-percent shooting, to go with 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 31.5 minutes of play.
He hiked his averages in the playoffs to 14.8 points on 62-percent clip, on top of 7.2 boards and 1.0 assist in 34.6 minutes as eight-seeded Washington fell to top seed Philadelphia in the first round.
The former Gonzaga star is already part of the Japanese pool for the home Olympics but reports from Japan raised the chance he'll be in Clark to help it seal a berth in the Fiba Asia Cup set in Indonesia late in the year.
Japan belongs in Group B which has been hard-hit by postponements and the withdrawal of Malaysia owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Japan, at 1-0 (win-loss) is set to play China on June 16 and 19, and Chinese Taipei on June 18 and 20 with two spots in the tournament proper at stake.