Four-time Philippine Basketball Association champion Jay Washington packed his bags for Japan to join the Ryukyu Golden Kings in the Japanese B.League.
The Golden Kings made the announcement on social media on Thursday, saying that the 41-year-old power forward will make his debut in the upcoming 2022-2023 season.
He will also be playing in the East Asia Super League after Ryukyu bagged the silver medal following a final setback to Link Togichi Brex Utsunomiya in the previous season.
Ryukyu is bracketed with newly-crowned PBA Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer, Anyang KGC of the Korean Basketball League and Taipei Fubon Braves of the P.League+ in Group A.
“According to the rules of EASL, the acquisition of Washington is based on a foreign nationality quota system of two foreign nationality players and one Asian special quota, which is one less than B.League, except for Japanese nationality players,” the Golden Kings said.
“The big reason is the reinforcement of the combined big man. The match against the PBA (Philippine professional league) champion, which will be held in Manila on 2 November, will be a game in which basketball is the national sport of the Philippines, and the Kings will face a tough battle in an environment they have never experienced before.”
The Golden Kings said they also expect Washington to provide stability off the bench as back up to star center Watanabe Hiyu.
“We also expect him to play an active role as a backup big man during the absence of Watanabe Hiyu, who is waiting for his return from injury.”
Washington is excited to share his experience with his new club as they aim for success this season.
“Kings fans! I am so excited to be joining your incredible team for this upcoming 2022-2023 season! This was an amazing season, but there are greater goals for us to reach and I am excited to work towards them,” Washington said.
“I am proud to play for such a great organization and look forward to our continued success. I will work hard and give it my all for the championship.”
Washington joins Kiefer Ravena (Shiga Lakestars), Matthew Wright (Kyoto Hannaryz) and Ray Parks (Nagoya Diamond Dolphins) in the elite list of PBA stars campaigning in Japan.