Kemark Cariño is set to head to Japan B.League's Second Division as an Asian Player Quota import, just finalizing his contract with the Aomori Wat's, according to San Beda team manager Jude Roque.
"He is inclined to accept the offer, but (both sides are) still finalizing the contract," answered Roque to ESPN5 when asked about the next step for the erstwhile Red Lion.
Cariño is presently back inside the Gilas Pilipinas Men's training bubble at the INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, where the nationals are gearing up for the FIBA Asia Cup in August.
On Wednesday, Aomori announced it was bringing over Cariño - standing at 6-foot-8, but remains reed-thin - who averaged 3.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in two games in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
- 青森ワッツ (@aomori_wats) July 21, 2021
Back in 2018, he was already seen as one of the bright rising stars in Philippine basketball when former Gilas head coach Chot Reyes included him in the pool supposed to be in early preparation for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Now, he's hoping that Japan will be where he realizes his potential. The 23-year-old can boast of a long wingspan, height, shooting, and athleticism, making him a modern big who may very well make waves in the second-tier Japanese league.
The forward's last local tournament was the 95th Season of the NCAA, playing for San Beda and norming 2.0 points and 1.4 boards. He has two more years of eligibility left, but will void those once he signs his pro contract.
Cariño is the second Filipino alongside Juan Gomez de Liaño of Earth Friends Tokyo Z in the B.League Division 2. Other Filipinos also under contract in Japan are San-En NeoPhoenix's Thirdy Ravena and Ibaraki Robots' Javi Gomez de Liaño, who will both compete in Division 1.