Japan: X League Final Four ready to kick off this weekend

Japan’s X League heads into its Final Four this weekend as the defending champion Fujitsu Frontiers will square off against the Elecom Kobe Finies while the Obic Seagulls and Panasonic Impulse will do battle.

Since 2008, the Frontiers, Seagulls and Impulse have won all but one X League title. Fujitsu has won four of the last five while the Impulse interrupted that string in 2015. Panasonic also won it in 2008. Obic won four in a row (2010-2013) while the Kajima Deers took the crown in 2009

Fujitsu Frontiers (7-0) v. Elecom Kobe Finies (3-4)

The defending champion Frontiers waltzed through the regular season with relative ease compiling an unbeaten 7-0 record, averaging 46.4 points a game. However, only two teams held them to under 30 points and one of them was Elecom.

Fujutsu defeated the Kobe Finies 27-10 in their only encounter during the regular season. The only other team to keep Fujitsu under control was Obic who lost 16-14. Frontiers starting quarterback Michael Birdsong  has had a solid season throwing for 1,051 yards, good for fifth overall.. However, Elecom finished the regular season on a three-game losing streak, and dropped the final game 41-9 to the Panasonic ImpulseElecom quarterback Cody Sokol was the third leading passer throwing for 1,240 yards and 11 TDs. If he can get his passing game untracked, this could actually be an interesting game.

Obic Seagulls (6-1) v. Panasonic Impulse (5-2)

The Seagulls came within seconds of beating the Fujitsu Frontiers in the final regular season game of the year but a blocked field goal attempt by Fujtisu on the final play of the game thwarted them. Panasonic only lost two games in the regular season, one to Obic 14-7 and the other to the Frontiers 45-27. In other words, they could surprise in this one.

Seagulls quarterbacks Skyler Howard and Shun Sugawara have thrown for 763 and 422 yards and lead a balanced attack. Impulse quarterback Anthony Lawrence is the second leading passer in the X League having thrown for 1,482 yards and eight touchdowns. This could turn into a quarterbacking duel.

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