Ljubljana triumph in FIBA 3x3 World Tour final

Jay Asser 29/10/2016
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Long-range sniper: Jasmin Hercegovac nails a shot. Picture: Jan Peter.

In what felt like a blink of an eye, Jasmin Hercegovac splashed back-to-back shots from beyond the arc to return Ljubljana to the top of the FIBA 3×3 world on Friday night.

The sharpshooter scored 11 points to lead the Slovenians past Hamamatsu of Japan 21-12 in the title game of the World Tour Final at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.

After falling short the past two years, Ljubljana finally tasted glory again following their first crown in Istanbul, Turkey in 2013.

“To be honest, I’m probably going to feel it in a few days what we achieved. Right now, my pulse is higher than usual and it feels great,” Hercegovac, the No5 ranked 3×3 player in the world, told Sport360.

“It took so long (to win the title again). Maybe we even doubted ourselves if we could do it again, but this year we showed amazing performances and we are very happy about it.”

Hercegovac finished with 50 points in five games – all wins – in the capital, but his final four points will be the lasting memory as he ended the championship with rapid-fire long-range bombs to display both his shooting ability and feel for the moment.

“No hesitation at all,” he said. “There’s only 12 seconds [on the shot clock] here. If you have an open window to shoot, I’m going to use it because there are more chances the result is not going to be that good of an opportunity in the next eight seconds. If you feel it, you have to shoot it.”

At the age of 39 and with two World Tour titles under his belt, Hercegovac is dreaming even bigger for his next goal. Not only does he hope 3×3 basketball makes its debut at the 2020 Olympics, but he wants to go out on top with Slovenia at the top of the podium.

“Honestly, our biggest dream or wish it to have a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. I would like to finish my career like that,” he said.

Hamamatsu, meanwhile, had to settle for second place in Abu Dhabi, but they knocked off the favourites and two-time reigning champions, Novi Sad Al Wahda in the semi-finals.

Vadim ‘Miller’ Poddubchenko and Marcin Chudy won the event’s slam dunk contest and shootout, respectively.

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First of its kind 3x3 Arab Women’s Basketball Tournament set for tip-off

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Nada Al Naqbi, Director of Women Sports Department in Sharjah, Chairperson of the Women's Committee at the Arab Basketball Federation and Head of the Higher Organising Committee of the tournament.

The Tournament will be hosted in Sharjah under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs and wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah.

Titled ‘Above the Rim, We Score,’ the inaugural pan-Arab women basketball competition is being organised by the Women Sport Department (WSD) at Sharjah Ladies Club (SLC) runs until 31 October.

It is the first tournament of its type in the Middle East and will feature Olympic Club from Algeria, Halabja Club from Iraq, the Lebanese International University Club from Lebanon, the University Student Team from Palestine and the Ministry of Youth and Sports’ team from Bahrain.

Clubs that are participating with two teams are hosts Sharjah Ladies Club, The Sporting Club from Egypt, G.S. Petroliers Club from Algeria, Orthodox Club from Jordan and Al Fahees Club, also from Jordan.

“The 3×3 Arab Women Basketball Tournament provides Arab athletes with a great opportunity to gain experience, develop their skills and enjoy good natured rivalry with a host of international participants,” said Nada Al Naqbi, Director of Women Sports Department in Sharjah.

“A successful tournament, along with FIBA’s recognition of its players, will motivate Sharjah Ladies Club and other women’s clubs in Arab countries to step up and take part in even more regional and international competitions, with the ultimate goal being representation at global championship tournaments.”

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FIBA director hopes 3x3 basketball can make Tokyo 2020

Matt Jones 26/10/2016
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Golf, kitesurfing and rugby sevens might have very little in common with 3×3 basketball, but Alex Sanchez is hoping the shortened version of the game can follow in the trio’s footsteps and make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

Sanchez, the International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) 3×3 director, has been with the game since its humble beginnings as a white paper proposition in 2010.

The FIBA 3×3 World Tour was born in 2012 and now, just four short years later, Sanchez is cautiously optimistic of the sport appearing on the grandest stage of all in four years’ time.

“We will do everything possible to make this happen,” said Sanchez yesterday at the press conference ahead of the World Tour’s seasonending final in Abu Dhabi.

“We hope this event (in Abu Dhabi) helps us to become an Olympic sport. We are cautiously optimistic. It has been a success at the Youth Olympics. We are in most of the multi-sport games, European, Islamic and Asian Games, it’s a long list, but it’s never enough. I want us to drive for more.

“The additions of new sports to the Olympics earlier this year makes our case very strong. It’s a dream. It will still be a dream if the decision is no, or maybe that will be a nightmare, but we are optimistic.”

FIBA will present its case to the International Olympic Committee in February next year, with a decision expected by July.

“It is already a part of the Asian Games in 2018 and events like this help us to grow the sport and make it better,” added Sanchez.

A total of 12 teams will take to the Zayed Sports City court Thursday and Friday to decide who will take the 2016 Abu Dhabi title, with local side Novi Sad Al Wahda the twotime defending champions.

Sanchez admits he has been amazed by the development and growth in popularity of 3×3 basketball in the last six years, and believes Abu Dhabi has had a big part to play.

“Last year the quarter-finals were held here at Nation Towers and I think it was the best quarterfinals we’ve ever had,” said Sanchez. “I’m convinced with help from the Abu Dhabi Sports Council it will become even better this year. It’s been a long season but we have here the best teams on the World Tour and we expect them all to put on the most competitive tournament of 3×3 action to date.

“Abu Dhabi is the flagship tournament of the 3×3 calendar. The final is the pinnacle of the season. It’s going to be the most competitive event ever. We started with a white paper in 2010 then the World Tour started in 2012. We thought that was the key ingredient to make the sport self-sustaining.

“We are now in the fifth year. The prize money here has been growing, it will double next year which helps to attract better players and maybe help the sport go professional. We are heading in the right direction.”

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