By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Will Matthew Aquino wear the Japanese national team jersey in the upcoming 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers?
Matthew, the son of PBA legend Marlou Aquino, was included by the Japanese Basketball Association (JBA) in their initial 24-man pool for the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Matthew holds a Japanese passport and is considered a local Japanese basketball player even before signing with the Shinshu Brave Warriors in the B. League.
Moreover, Matthew is not a part of the Asian player quota rule the same as Thirdy and Kiefer Ravena, Dwight Ramos, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., and Kobe Paras.
Matthew only played one game so far for the Brave Warriors, contributing two points and two rebounds against the Akita Northern Happinets.
The six-foot-nine center will be accompanied by his teammate Yudai Okada in the list of players as well as familiar faces in Tenketsu Harimoto, Yutaro Suda, and Takumi Saito.
FIBA’s first window of the qualifiers is already scheduled this November 27-28, with Japan drawn into Group B against China.