New Zealand has been beaten by Romania and Serbia in their first two pool games at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup in Manila on Saturday.
The team suffered a narrow 12-16 loss at the hands of Romania in their first game. It was neck-and-neck for much of the contest, but a cold spell offensively hurt New Zealand down the stretch and they couldn’t recover.
Head coach Anthony Corban said it was a game they let slip out of their hands.
“It was basket-for-basket for pretty much the whole game, but we hit a flat spot where we didn’t score for five possessions. We were just unable to reel them back in after that,” said Corban.
New Zealand squared off with defending champs Serbia in their second pool game. The men showed flashes throughout the contest, but they just couldn’t contain the firepower of Serbia, falling 13-22.
Coach Corban called Serbia a “class team” and commended their well-rounded performance.
“We got off to a bad start, and against Serbia, it’s game over. They don’t give you any chances,” said Corban.
“Serbia spread the floor well and targeted players with off-ball and back door cuts which led to easy lay-ups. They were very good at controlling the pace of the game and knowing when to push it.
“We managed to get on a roll in the last four minutes and made some nice offensive change ups that got us some baskets.”
With no games today, the team will have a recovery session and go over game film, said Corban, before a walk through and shooting session later in the afternoon.
They’ll be back in action on Monday at 4:30pm NZT against Kyrgyzstan, and then the Netherlands at 6:00pm NZT.
New Zealand need a top-two finish in their pool to qualify for the knockout round.
“We’re not out of this yet,” said Corban.
All games are being livestreamed on the FIBA 3x3 Youtube channel, and all of New Zealand’s games on the Basketball New Zealand Facebook page.
· 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.