MANILA – A Filipino player has been listed in Japan's pool for the FIBA World Cup.
Six-foot-nine center Matthew Aquino made the Japanese squad's training roster for the tournament that the country will co-host with the Philippines and Indonesia.
The son of former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) star Marlou Aquino has Japanese lineage through his grandmother from his mother's side.
As he obtained a Japanese passport before he reached 16, Matthew has been categorized as a local.
Aquino, who plays for Shinshu in the Japan B.League, debuted for the "Akatsuki Five" last year in a 76-71 win against Chinese Taipei in the World Cup Qualifiers.
Before joining the B.League, Aquino first played professional basketball in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, suiting up for Bacoor City along with his dad and Pasig the season after.
Meanwhile, as anticipated, National Basketball Association players Yuta Watanabe and Rui Hachimura made Japan's World Cup pool and are expected to crack the final 12-man roster.
Former San Miguel import Nick Fazekas also made the pool with Yuya Nagayoshi, Yuki Togashi, Yudai Baba, Koya Kawamata, Soichiro Inoue, Makoto Hiejima, Yutaro Suda, Shuta Hara, Kai Toews, Keisei Tominaga, Aki Chambers, Tenketsu Harimoto, Hugh Watanabe, Yuki Kawamura, Luke Evans, Seiya Ando, Josh Hawkinson, Hirotaka Yoshii, Yudai Nishida, Ren Kanechika, and Akira Jacobs completing the extended roster.
Japan is placed in Group E, arguably the "group of death", with Germany, Finland and Australia for the first round of the World Cup final.
The games will be played at the Okinawa Arena. (PNA)