Gilas to watch out for Japanese aces
By Nelson Beltran Updated Saturday September 26, 2015 - 8:00pm

Keijuro Matsui (No. 16) is among the players to watch out for in Japan. |

CHANGSHA - In a meeting before practice Sunday, the Gilas coaching staff identified five Japanese players as the men to watch in their game.

The Nationals will take a close look at center Joji Takeuchi, playmaker Yuta Tabuse and gunners Takatoshi Furukawa, Keijuro Matsui and Makoto Hiejima.

"We've talked on how to handle these Japanese guys. Coach Tab (Baldwin) has a good game plan against them," said Marc Pingris, among Gilas' primary defenders.

Takeuchi has long been Japan's main frontline player, capable of dishing out double-double numbers.

Through the first round of the FIBA Asia Championship, the 6-foot-10 player averages team highs of 14.7 points and 11.7 rebounds.

"Gagawa't-gagawa pa rin ‘yan dahil magandang lumaro sa loob and he's got a good perimeter shooting. But he's to deal with Dray Blatche and Asi Taulava," said Pingris.

"He has to (deliver) for them. He is a good scorer and he's a good rebounder, and he knows he has to rebound the ball for them. He'll continue to that for them," said Gilas coach Tab Baldwin.

Furukuwa (12.3), Matsui (12.0) and Hiejima (11.3) are the other Japanese players who average in twin digits while Tabuse norms 6.7 points, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steal and 4.0 rebounds a game.

Japan averages a total of 83.3 points a game on 38.4-percent three-point shooting and a total of 46.8-percent clip.

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