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"Hidden Talents" is the sixty ninth chapter in Ahiru no Sora.

Chapter Summary

The Game Tip-Off

The tournament officials announce Kuzuryu High and Shinjo Towa Academy team names. Both clubs make their way to the court. Momoharu anxiously prepares himself for the tip-off. The people in the crowd notice Sora on the court, and one of the onlookers’ comments to his colleague that he thought the little guy was not a starting member and further praises both teams for having taller members. However, the crowd is in favor of Shinjo Towa Academy and cheer their team’s name. Before the tip-off, Takahashi confidently tells his teammate Yukio that he is counting on his support. Momoharu sees his taller adversary and feels a bit intimated by him. Hanazono then tries to calm himself down and tells himself that Yukio is a bit smaller in height compared to Chiba-san. Seeing his confident captain, Sora also tries to regain his composer and notifies himself that this is a tournament, and if his team loses this match, they’re out of the tourney. Out of everyone on the court, Yasuhara is the most confused one. Kenji notices his teammates and talks to himself that everyone on his team seems a bit disoriented. Kenji further states that the team that will score the first point will decide the flow of the match.

The referee sounds the whistle, Momoharu and Yukio line up for the tip-off. The referee throws the ball in the air. Both jump to retrieve it, Momoharu messes up his jump timing, and Yukio wins the tip-off. Shinjo Towa Academy has possession of the ball, and Takahashi urges his teammates to score and gain momentum. Nao sees a confused Yasuhara, and she requests her senior that their defensive formation is man-to-man and he is marking number 7, Kazushi of Shinjo Towa Academy. Yanagihara is the starting first-year at Shinjo Towa who is participating in the match in place of Kojima. Takahashi sees him tense and requests Yanagihara not to be confused and participate in the match as they just do while practicing.

Meanwhile, upstairs at the tournament venue, Shinmaruko High from the stands is eagerly watching the game between Kuzuryu High and Shinjo Towa Academy. Tokiwa asks his captain does he know who the number 4 of Shinjo Towa is? Chiba replies that Takahashi is his good friend from middle school and comments that both were short in height and usually played the position of guard. Chiba praises his friend's basketball skills and urges Tokiwa to watch and learn from Takahashi how to become an efficient point guard. In concluding, Chiba states there are tons of talented individuals who don’t receive proper recognition and further comments that, in comparison to Takahashi, both are lucky to be enrolled at Shinmaruko High. Takahashi has possession of the ball, and Chiaki is guarding. Takahashi is unfazed by his adversary's taller and muscular physique, quickly passes Chiaki’s defense. The first-year at Shinjo Towa Academy praise their senior for his efforts. Momoharu stops him, and Takahashi, instead of attempting to score, passes the ball to Yanagihara, who then scores. Shinjo Towa Academy has taken the lead. Nabe praises that Shinjo Towa is indeed a strong team. Kenji requests Chiaki to pass the ball to him.

Kenji Natsume scores the first point for Kuzuryu High

Chiba sees his friend’s Takahashi performance and is happy for him; however, at the same time, he seems to be worried about Kuzuryu High and comments to Tokiwa that if Sora’s team doesn’t respond, their team will indeed be in trouble. Takahashi displays his leadership qualities to everyone on the court and confidently urges his team to stop Kuzuryu High from scoring. In the spur of the moment, Kenji blazes pass Takahashi's defense. A confused Takahashi looks at Kenji and states that it felt like a gust of wind. Ruko tries to stop Kenji from scoring; however, he is unable. Kenji also quickly passes his defense. Everyone at the bench of Shinjo Towa Academy frustratingly shouts at their team to stop him. Kenji then efficiently scores the layup. After scoring, Kenji confidently notifies the referee that Shinjo Towa’s center Yukio touched him as he scored the layup. The referee sounds the whistle and states basket counts and one free throw attempt. Everyone in the crowd is amazed at Kenji’s basketball skills and one of the onlookers’ comments that he took the entire Shinjo Towa team by himself. Chiba, seeing Kenji for the first time, states that Kuzuryu High has some hidden talented players. Upon witnessing, Kaname notifies his teammates that he has seen many talented players, but Kenji’s basketball skill level is beyond good.

Kenji, after scoring, confidently instructs his teammates that in the next 2 minutes, they should all get rid of their rigidness and further states the reason to his teammates for their depleted stamina that all of them went a bit overboard with their warmup. Momoharu and his teammates smile at Kenji’s leadership, and then all of them regain their composure. Kenji then urges his teammates to stop Shinjo Towa Academy from scoring.

Characters

Reference

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