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    Lackluster Japanese face specter of elimination

    Aug 6, 2013

    AFTER absorbing its second straight loss, Japan faces the specter of elimination when it goes up against an equally struggling Jordan side on Wednesday at the close of the 27th Fiba-Asia men’s basketball second round at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    Japanese gunner Kosuke Kanamaru knows the urgency of the game against the Jordanians since another loss means missing the final eight.

    “This (game against Jordan) is a must-win for us because if we can’t win, we’ll go to the lower division,” said the 6-foot-2 three-point specialist.

    Kanamura, who scored 14 points in Japan’s 76-79 heartbreaking loss to Chinese-Taipei on Tuesday, said defense and rebounding are two key departments in the game against the Jordanians.

    “We’re the kind of team that is not strong on defense or strong on rebounds so we have to have 100 percent on our effort in rebounding and playing defense. We have to adjust and play hard to stop the offense of our opponents,” added the 24-year-old Fukuoka, Japan native.

    The Japanese are coming off a strong second place finish behind champion Iran in the 2012 Fiba Asia Cup held in Tokyo, Japan.

    But the squad has fallen on hard times in the Fiba-Asia cage showpiece, which gives the top three teams berths to the Fiba World Cup in Spain.

    The Japanese opened the second round with a 71-90 loss at the hands of Gilas Pilipinas after going through a maze of turnovers in a terrible second half performance.

    The skid continued against the Taiwanese, who outrebounded the Japanese, 44-33, and enjoyed a huge 39-17 advantage on points off the bench.

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