The New Zealand men’s 3x3 team have knocked out two powerhouse 3x3 teams, Qatar and Australia, to stride into the quarter-finals of the 3x3 Asia Cup in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Australia were always going to be tough. They had played two qualifying games the day before, defeating Malaysia and Turkmenistan. These two victories resulted in their entrance to Pool B with Qatar, and a dream preparation in the early stages of the event. Perhaps their only disadvantage was that New Zealand Head Coach Anthony Corban would have surely scouted both games to analyse his opposition.
“Before we stepped on court we were ready and the team was focussed. We had a clear game-plan on how to defend the Australian shooters,” said Coach Corban.
The New Zealand team built a solid lead, before hitting a momentary phase when they were poor on perimeter close outs. They regathered after the last time-out and finished the game effortlessly.
“It was total team performance. Our guards shot well, and the bigs defended the rim and rebounded well.”
Later in the evening the New Zealand men took the court against Qatar, who had been defeated by Australia two hours earlier 15 to 18. This meant New Zealand only need a minimum of 10 points to secure a top-two placing.
“The team was given all relevant information. If we happened to lose this game, as long as it was six or less points, we still qualified for quarter finals. Of course we were there to win.
“It was another sound start for us. Qatar were difficult to play, they didn’t run a lot of sets, just one-on-one isolations. Defensively we were physical and again built a lead and controlled the game. Alonzo Burton rose to the challenge and was a consistent scorer. It was just great to finish the day with another W,” said Coach Corban.
Corban also made special mention of former Tall Black Everard Bartlett, saying his leadership both on and off court was truly shining through at this event.
The Kiwi men will play Kyrgystan tonight (7:20pm, 29 Oct NZT). If New Zealand wins, they will likely play a semi-final with Kazakhstan, or Japan who New Zealand defeated in scrimmages earlier in the week.
The New Zealand Women, also in the quarter-finals, will play China at 5:20pm (29 Oct NZT). All games will be livestream on the @BasketballNZ facebook page and the FIBA 3x3 Youtube page. If they win, a likely semi-final against Australia awaits.
For more on the event go to FIBA's Tournaments webpage here: http://www.fiba.basketball/3x3asiacup/2017
Women’s 3x3 New Zealand Team:
Men’s 3x3 New Zealand Team:
Anthony Corban, Head Coach
Leanne Walker, Assistant Coach
Previous releases during the tournament.