The New Zealand men’s team has finished third in Pool A at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup in Manila.
They needed to secure two wins on the final day of pool play but fell just short against the Netherlands in their last game. New Zealand, however, did manage to grab a win over Kyrgyzstan 20-15 earlier in the day. They finished the tournament with a 1-3 record overall.
Head coach Anthony Corban was happy with the team’s performance against Kyrgyzstan and commended the strong play of Sam Timmins.
“We wanted to impose our physicality on the game and we certainly did that for two thirds of the contest. We got them into the two free throw penalty early and were able to capitalize. Sam Timmins threw down four pretty impressive dunks and had himself a nice game overall.
“We were up 18-9 but fatigue kicked in late in the game. We fell off the 2-point line (perimeter close outs) and gave up some outside baskets.
“It was good to get the win, but it came at a price as we had to play an hour later against a very good opponent.
New Zealand put forth tremendous effort against a tough Netherlands team. They eventually fell 21-15.
Coach Corban said the team defended well in spurts but a run of consecutive 2-point shots by the Netherlands in the middle of the game really hurt.
“For the majority of the game we did a good job defending their high screen action, but we fell off close outs on shooters near the middle of the game. You can’t afford to leave a team of that caliber wide open.
“We have to give credit where credit is due. The Netherlands were ruthless picking us apart. They’re a team that plays 3x3 professionally and it showed.
“Pretty gutsy performance from a New Zealand team playing out of season on the world stage.”
Finals day at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup begins today, and you can watch the action on the FIBA 3x3 Youtube channel.
A third-place finish in a tough pool is commendable for New Zealand. The team finished 13th overall, which is an improvement on their 16th place finish a year ago at the same World Cup.
· See FIBA’s tournament website here: http://www.fiba.basketball/3x3WC/2018
· More basketball news at www.nz.basketball and Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.