Day 4 of the Tokyo 2020 wheelchair basketball at the Ariake Arena started with Turkey vs Spain – two teams with a clean winning record. In a dynamic game, Spain had the better start and built upon their 10-17 lead after the first quarter. A lead which they maintained to the end, and in the start-to-finish victory for Spain saw Turkey’s Ozgur Gurbulak (36 pts) and Spain’s Jordi Ruiz Jordan (20pts) be the dominant players for their respective teams.
For the first three-quarters of the second game of the day in Group A, it looked like Canada were on track to clinch their first victory of the competition as they led by 6 against Japan entering the fourth. However, the local support – provided by the lucky few spectators and volunteers who were allowed in the arena – seemed to have unleashed extra motivation for the Japanese team. Japan used the support to drive them and get their first lead (51-52) with 5:24 on the game clock which they retained 62-56. Once again, Japan’s go-to guy was Hiroaki Kozai who dropped 24 points, including 4 important shots from downtown. Japan is now 3-0, whilst Canada suffered their second heartbreaking loss following yesterday’s OT defeat against Turkey. Even though Canada is still awaiting the first win of the tournament, not everything is lost for them as they’ll face Korea and Colombia in their remaining two group-stage games – all peeking for that quarter-final ticket spot.
In the last game of the day, Korea and Colombia both were looking for their first win in Tokyo and a bid to keep their quarter-final dreams alive. Korea pushed harder from the beginning and even 21 points from Jhon Hernandez were not enough to seriously contest a 66-54 win by Korea.
Spain (4-0) and Japan (3-0), the only undefeated teams in Group A, will face each other tomorrow to determine who will take the first spot. Canada on the other hand will have its final opportunity tomorrow to slip into the quarter-finals. To do so, they will have to beat Korea who should have regained their confidence as they beat Colombia today.
For a full wheelchair basketball schedule and results click here.
Pictures: Shingo Ito X-1