19 February, 2024
25 February, 2025
7 Kai Toews (JPN), 25 Yuto Kawashima (JPN), 75 Soichiro Inoue (JPN)
Game Report
to read

Before sold-out crowd, Japan open campaign with rout of Guam

TOKYO (Japan) - Japan opened their FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers campaign on a rousing note following a 77-56 beatdown of Guam, Thursday night at the Ariake Coliseum.



The home team turned in a big second half to frustrate their upset-hungry counterparts, much to the delight of the 8,526-strong partisan crowd that sold out the venue.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by FIBA Asia Cup (@asiacup)


Game heroes: Yuki Kawamura finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals to show the way for Japan, which took the provisional lead in Group C (1-0).

Shooter Makoto Hiejima chipped in 12 points, spiked by a pair of triples.

Big man Josh Harrellson personified hustle and grit as he came through with a double-double of his own with 11 points and a game-high 21 rebounds for an impressive national team debut.

Turning point: Akatsuki Japan played catch-up ball majority of the first half and trailed by four against the Guamainian crew early in the third canto, but they slowly chipped away the gap until Yuto Kawashima put them ahead, 42-41, following a lay-up off a Hiejima dime.

They finished the said period by outscoring the opposition, 20-8. But it wasn't until the fourth quarter where the floodgates opened, when Kai Toews nailed a triple to trigger a mini run that gave them a 62-48 lead with under seven minutes left to play.

Stats don't lie: Japan dished out 21 assists, seemingly giving Guam a lesson on how to operate as a collective on a higher level as the latter only had 8 dimes as a whole.

They said: "It seems like we’re repeating some of our issues that we had in the World Cup, which is missing open shots, gap penetration, turnovers. It’s just gonna take a little bit of time to get those things right. This team, we’ve been together for nine days, and we haven’t had any practice games against outside teams or anything. So it’s really kind of a puzzle on who fits what position, what’s the best combination, what’s the best timing. At halftime I though we were playing decent defense, just some turnovers and missed shots really made the game closer but at halftime I just told the team let’s just continue playing our style, our game, and we’ll be fine. That’s kinda what happened." - Tom Hovasse, Head Coach, Japan

"Am new so he’s tryna find a way to fit me in with the team. A lot of these guys have been here for a couple of years. I was very grateful for the challenge, very grateful for the opportunity to come out and play for Japan today. Like Coach Tom was saying at halftime, we weren’t playing Japan basketball, and we made the adjustment in the second half. A lot of guys are in and gave us great energy. Yuto came in and gave us great energy today, that kinda gave us great energy today, that kinda gave us a but of momentum and we built on that; Kai, great penetration, it was a great team win, everybody played well." - Josh Harrellson, Japan

"It was a very exciting game. We want to thank the fans in Japan for coming out and making it such an exciting atmosphere. Congratulations to the Japan team, they’re obviously a very quality program, and we look forward to getting better, learning from every experience and coming back. Of course, this is just the first game ion these FIBA Qualifiers, and we feel that we can do better, and we will always work hard to get better." - EJ Calvo, Head Coach, Guam

"Today was very exciting. As a program we were looking forward to this matchup. This was obviously a huge game not just for us but for the island. For the fans to come out in Japan and sell out the arena, it was just huge. We were very excited. Even though the outcome didn’t come our way, we still have some positives to look at throughout the game but we just know what we have to get better at in doing in order to get better as a team." - Earnest Ross, Guam