SINGAPORE, 2023, MARCH 31 – On day three of the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2023, the men’s and women’s teams from Australia and Japan were the standout performers, as they secured their places in the quarter-finals of the competition. The three-time defending champions in the men’s category, Australia, easily progressed to the knockout stages, alongside Iran, New Zealand, and Qatar, while in the women’s category, Japan, the No.2 seed, progressed to the quarter-finals, along with Australia, Chinese Taipei, and Thailand.
The main draw of the tournament began on day three after two days of qualification, with the event being hosted for the first time at the famous Singapore Sports Hub OCBC Square, which was a spectacular start to the main event.
Pool B was a highly competitive group, with Japan, the No.2 seed, pitted against last year’s finalists, Australia and New Zealand. Despite the tough competition, Australia’s winning run in the event continued, as they stretched their winning streak to 22 games, including the qualification draw in 2018. Although they were tested early on by New Zealand, who came into the game confidently having won four straight games in the qualification round, Australia eventually secured a 21-13 victory. They were also made to work hard for their win over Japan but eventually ran away with it.
In the women’s category, Japan, who missed out on a podium finish last year, started the competition on a high note, securing comfortable victories over Chinese Taipei and Singapore. All-conquering Australia, who were unstoppable during qualification, continued their form with an easy victory over India and Thailand.
There were also some standout performances from individual players on day three. In his 3×3 debut, Todd Blanchfield of Australia scored 11 points against New Zealand, showcasing his impressive skills with half-court drives and jumpers. He added another five points in their win over Japan, capped by a thunderous dunk to round off his impressive debut. Meanwhile, Yua Emura, the 20-year-old sensation from Japan, proved she was ready for the big stage, scoring 12 points and 10 highlights in two games, showcasing her insane handles and rebounding abilities.
There was also an exciting comeback from Iran in the men’s category, who looked dead and buried when Almond Vosotros of the Philippines hit a banked two to give them a four-point lead with less than two minutes left. However, an inspired Iran scored the next seven points, with Piter Girgoorian contributing seven points and 11 boards to silence the loud Filipino fans in the crowd. They then booked their spot in the quarters when Mohammadsina Vahedi‘s pretty layup – having missed two free throws to ice the game – broke the hearts of Qatar in a 21-19 thriller.
The final game of the day saw Qatar and the Philippines fighting for a spot in the quarter-finals. It was a thrilling encounter that came down to the wire, with Qatar seemingly having the edge, but the Philippines wouldn’t go away and were inspired by their passionate fans in the stands. They eventually levelled at 18 apiece, but Souley Ndour proved the hero, scoring the last three points to secure Qatar’s place in the quarters.
The Asia Cup continues on day four, with men’s and women’s Pool A and C play.
Pool A: Mongolia, Chinese Taipei, Singapore
Pool B: Japan, Australia, New Zealand
Pool C: China, India, Kazakhstan
Pool D: Philippines, Qatar, Iran
Pool A: China, Iran, Philippines,
Pool B: Japan, Chinese Taipei, Singapore
Pool C: Mongolia, Malaysia, New Zealand
Pool D: Thailand, India, Australia
Watch Day 4 of the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2023 on their YouTube channel.