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    Rui Hachimura, Yuta Watanabe lead 24-man Japan pool for Clark

    Jun 10, 2021
    PHOTO: Fiba.basketball

    RUI Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe have been included in the 24-man pool of the Japan national team for the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark.

    The two NBA players were included in the 24-man pool of Japan for Clark showpiece that runs from June 16 to 20, according to an announcement by the Japanese Basketball Association.

    Still, the two players coming over to the Philippines will still depend on whether Hachimura and Watanabe will be part of the final 12 to be decided upon by the coaching staff led by Julio Lamas.

    However, chances that Hachimura and Watanabe will be in Japan's Final 12 is high as local organizers, SPIN.ph learned, have been made aware of the possibility in their communications with the Japan federation.

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      Hachimura played for the Washington Wizards this season and the team's elimination in the first round of the NBA playoffs by the Philadelphia 76ers opened the way for his stint with the Japan side in the Clark qualifiers.

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      Watanabe asaw action in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors this season.

      Also included in the pool are recently-named Japan B.League MVP Kosuke Kanamaru, Nick Fazekas, Kosuke Takeuchi, Joji Takeuchi, Gavin Edwards, Ryusei Shinoyama, Naoto Tsuji, Ryan Rossiter, Makoto Hiejima, Aki Chambers, Yuya Nagayoshi, Daiki Tanaka, Tenketsu Harimoto, Seiya Ando, Yuki Togashi, Leo Vendrame, Shuto Ando, Yudai Baba, Avi Koki Schafer, and Kai Toews.

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        Japan is currently in first place after its lone win in the qualifiers in Group B. The Akatsuki Five , however, have a tough schedule against China on June 16 and 19, and Chinese Taipei on June 18.

        The Clark competition could also serve as part of Hachimura and Co.'s build-up for the Olympics with Japan already gaining an outright spot in the basketball competition as the host country.

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        PHOTO: Fiba.basketball
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