THE Japanese national pool reasserted its dominance over Meralco-Cadet team following an 83-76 win Saturday night in their Pocari Sweat Basketball Friendlies in Sendai, Japan.
American import Chris Blake scattered 27 points while Mac Cardona chipped in 18 to lead Meralco-Cadet. But the numbers were not enough as the Philippine side suffered a second straight loss after dropping its first game against the same Japanese team Friday night, 67-86.
While the host has gone 2-0 in the first of three friendly games, Meralco team manager Butch Antonio said the Japanese squad is a mixture of veterans and up-and-coming players.
Noticeably not around is Japanese naturalized player JR Sakuragi (formerly JR Henderson).
“It is a mix of elite team and cadets,” Antonio told Spin.ph, referring to the Japanese national pool’s composition in the three-game friendlies, whose final game will be on Sunday in Tokyo.
“Their (Japanese) coach is their old coach from before,” he added, referring to Kimikazu Suzuki, who steered the Japanese national team to a runner up finish in the 4th Fiba Asia Cup in Tokyo, Japan last year.
Proceeds of the friendlies will go straight to the ongoing aid for the 2011 tsunami victims in Japan.
Originally, Gilas Pilipinas was invited to play in the three-game friendlies only for coach Chot Reyes to change plan at the last minute.
At the moment, Reyes is ironing out a possible six-game tune-up matches for Gilas Pilipinas in New Zealand as part of its build-up for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship.