TOKYO, Japan (4th FIBA Asia Cup): Hosts Japan’s hopes of an impressive showing at the 4th FIBA Asia Cup starting on Friday received a serious jolt with their star forward Joji Takeuchi ruled of any action in the competition after his left ankle flared up with a sprain.
The hosts are most likely to bring Tokai University forward the yet unblooded Kosuke Hashimoto as the replacement for the one half of the Takeuchi twins, who incidentally will miss the Japan NTfor the first time since he made his debut at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.
The other Takeuchi – Kosuke – thus will now have to shoulder the responsibility of leading Japan without the support of his twin, which might have come very handy.
Japan are drawn with twice former FIBA Asia champions Iran, winners of this event in its inaugural edition in 2004 when it was called the FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup Qatar, East Asia’s Chinese Taipei and India in Group A of the Prelim round competition at the 4th FIBA Asia Cup.
Japan begin their campaign on Friday with a game against Qatar. Click here for complete schedule of 4th FIBA Asia Cup.