Thanks to a whole boat load of points from Nick Fazekas, Japan has advanced to the second round of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifers after defeating Chinese-Taipei, 108-68. Rui Hachimura, the Gonzaga forward, chipped in 13 points in the win.
The win was impressive, and Japan will need many more like it. Chinese-Taipei struggled in Group B, going just 1-5 and finishing with a point differential of -126. Japan, on the other hand, won their final two games over Australia and Chinese-Taipei to secure a second life in the next round.
The big story from the tournament so far was Japan’s huge upset of Australia. Now that they have advanced, Japan will join Iran and two teams to be determined in a group alongside Australia and the Philippines. Iran is led by the monstrous 7’2 center Hamed Haddadi, the first Iranian born NBA player in history. He now plays basketball in Iran, and is averaging 16.8 points and 12 rebounds during the tournament so far.
Rui has had a pretty good tournament so far, averaging 18.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He is shooting nearly 60 percent from the floor and, in what hopefully is a good sign for his Gonzaga career, hitting 66 percent from long range, averaging nearly one made three per game.
It most likely bodes the end of service time for Rui, however. The second round of the FIBA qualifers do not start until September, and the Gonzaga forward will be back at practice and in classes. It was a good run of experience for Rui and it will be interesting to see how his game has developed by partaking in the tournament.