Filipino-Japanese forward Matthew Aquino has been added to Japan's 24-man pool national basketball team to see action in the first window of the 2023 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.

/ 16 November 2021

The Japanese Basketball Association revealed its preliminary list on Monday that included the Shinshu Brave Warriors big man in its 24-man pool for the first window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. 

“I am honored to be selected as a candidate for the Japanese national team. I have been asking for play in Japan, so I am proud of this election. I will do my best to produce results on behalf of Shinshu,” Aquino said in a statement.

The 6-foot-9 standout, who is the son of PBA legend Marlou Aquino, holds a Japanese passport which makes him eligible to play as a local both in B.League and in the Japanese national team.

The current Shinshu Brave Warriors big man will join his teammate Yudai Okada and Akatsuki, five national team members Makoto Hiejima, Yuki Togashi, and Avi Schafer in the 24-man pool.

Familiar faces that made the 24-man cut include Bobby Ray Parks’ teammates in Nagoya Diamond Dolphins namely Tenketsu Harimoto, Yutaro Suda, and Takumi Saito.

Completing the pool are Keita Imamura and Ryuichi Kishimoto (Ryukyu Golden Kings), Yuma Fujii (Kawasaki Brave Thunders), Shuta Hara (Chiba Jets), Leo Vendrame (SunRockers Shibuya), Yudai Nishida (SeaHorses Mikawa), Ryo Terashima (Hiroshima Dragonflies), Aki Chambers and Kengo Nomoto (Gunma Crane Thunders), Eliet Donley and Zack Moore (Osaka Evessa), Masaaki Morikawa (Yokohama B-Corsairs), and Takatoshi Furukawa (Akita Northern Happinets).

Training camp began on Monday, Nov. 15, and will continue until Nov. 25 under new Japan national team head coach Tom Havasse. 

Should Aquino make it to the final cut, he will no longer be eligible to play for the Philippines in any FIBA-sanctioned events.

Japan, which is ranked 35th, will join Group B and will face No. 28 China on Nov. 27 and Nov. 28 at the Xebio Arena in Sendai, Japan.