TOKYO, Japan (4th FIBA Asia Cup): JR Sakuragi who has been in the oblivion for the last five years will make a comeback to the Japan NT leading the team’s fortunes at the 4th FIBA Asia Cup starting in Tokyo (Japan) on Sept 14.
The 36-year-old forward had been naturalized for the Japan NT to play the 24th FIBA Asia Championship at Tokushima in 2007, where Japan finished seventh failing to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Sakuragi averaged a modest 11.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Post that competition, Sakuragi had to be content playing with Aishin Seahorses in the JBL albeit leading the team to three JBL titles and one Final.
However, with the return of Kimikazu Suzuki the coach of the Aishin Seahorses – also incidentally the coach of the Japan NT at Tokushima – Sakuragi’s chances received a boost.
Japan are drawn alongside Qatar, Iran, India and Chinese Taipei in Group B of the Prelim Round competition at the 4th FIBA Asia Cup.
Japan open their campaign with a game against Qatar on Sept 14. Click here for complete schedule of 4th FIBA Asia Cup.