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GUAM READY FOR BIGGEST TEST YET

Men’s basketball to face Japan on Thursday

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The road to the 2025 FIBA Asia Cup starts Thursday for Guam’s National Basketball Team. Team Guam is currently in the land of the rising sun and will battle the Japanese on their home turf at a sold-out Ariake Arena in Tokyo. 

Team Guam has been in Japan for the last four days to take part in last-minute preparations and practices. Guam’s best roster ever assembled is excited to take the court against a higher ranking opponent.

Tip off is 8:05 pm CHamoru Standard Time

Here is Guam’s roster:
• Ben Borja (forward)
• Tomas Calvo (point guard)
• Takumi Simon (shooting guard)
• Jonathan Galloway (center)
• Tai Wesley (forward/center)
• Curtis Washington (center)
• Mark Johnson (guard/forward)
• Joe Blas (shooting guard)
• Jericho Cruz (guard)
• Daren Hechanova (point guard)
• Earnest Ross (shooting guard)
• Reo Aiken (shooting guard)

Team Guam Coaching Staff
• E.J. Calvo (Head Coach)
• Jin Han (Assistant Coach)
• Mekeli Wesley (Assistant Coach)
• Chris Fernandez (Assistant Coach)

“It’s always a goal for us to compete at the highest level possible, and it pushes us to focus and elevate ourselves,” said Guam’s head coach EJ Calvo.

“Japan is an elite international program, and this game will test us and force us to step up,” added Calvo.

“This is what we’ve sacrificed months for. The team is hyped and grateful,” said shooting guard Joe Blas.

Although the starting lineup has yet to be announced, Guam will have a good mixture of talent. Jericho Cruz is coming off helping the Philippine-based San Miguel Beerman team win the PBA Commisioners Cup Championship just last week.

Cruz is one of a handful of impact players that can make plays against a favored Japanese team. Guam has height, shooters, and excellent defenders looking to contain the talented Japanese back court. Win or lose, this will be Guam’s best out on the court, and the team will leave it all out there to make Guam proud.

Japan is currently ranked 26th in the FIBA rankings while Guam is at 76th. Guam will look to move up the rankings with a good show against a world powerhouse.

In this FIBA file photo: Earnest Ross celebrates the game-winning bucket in Mongolia last year.

The big game was sold out earlier this month and will be played at a newly constructed Ariake Arena. Immediately after the game against Japan, the Guam team will then travel to Mongolia on Friday to take on the 100th ranked Mongolian national team on February 25th. The match against Mongolia will be a highly anticipated rematch with Guam coming out on top after a game winner by Ernest Ross. 

All games will be streamed live on the FIBA website or the FIBA YouTube channel. 

Group C of the Qualifiers consists of Guam, Japan, Mongolia and China.

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