Tom Hovasse optimistic about Yuta Watanabe's appearance in Asia Cup
JBA, basketball's governing body in Japan, on Tuesday released the list of 24 players who made the tantative national team selection for the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifier Window 3. Yuta Watanabe, one of only two active NBA players in this country, is in, although the head coach Tom Hovasse clearly counted him out from the final 12-men roster for the Qualifier which takes place in Australia later this month. "He's not going to be there in the Window 3, just as scheduled."
But he sounded more optimistic about Watanabe's participation in the FIBA Asia Cup 2022, a premier tournament to decide the best team in the Asia-Oceania Zone. "Yuta is not here. But I anticipate he'll hopefully join us for the Asia Cup." Hovasse answered to GetsBas in his fluent Japanese at an on-line availability Tuesday.
"He is not participating in this camp at all. But when I met with him before this camp, he was so enthusiastic about playing for us. He wants to do it. If he is able to work out the schedule, he would come. I'm looking forward to it."
Hovasse has been with the team's 21 players in the pre-Qualifier training camp since last week with exceptions of Watanabe, Yuki Togashi and Yudai Baba. But Watanabe's name stays in the preliminary rosters for both the World Cup Qualifier and the Asia Cup.
Final roster for the Asia Cup will be announced after the July 5 registration. The Cup opens its action on July 12.
Text by Takeshi Shibata