Major Japanese 3x3 pro-basketball league to tip off in New Zealand

Major Japanese 3x3 pro-basketball league to tip off in New Zealand
In a major development for New Zealand basketball, a Japanese 3x3 league called 3x3.EXE PREMIER has announced New Zealand will be added to a global competition, along with Korea and Thailand.

New Zealand will host a 3x3.EXE league over two conferences. The North Island Conference will be held in Auckland. Christchurch will host the South Island Conference. Each conference will consist of six teams each and played over eight rounds from May to August. The winners of each conference will qualify for the 3x3.EXE Premier finals in Japan. The teams that come second will go to a qualifying to tournament. With all expenses paid, those four teams will compete for a share of USD$20,000 in prize-money in Tokyo and to go on to qualify for a FIBA World Tour Masters Event.

The 3x3.EXE Premier is a brand operated by Xross Sports Marketing Ltd, which is a Japanese company under the largest sports-retail company in Japan, Xebio Group. The Premier league is financially backed by Xebio Group, with the organisers covering the cost of hosting two conferences in New Zealand and working with Basketball New Zealand to host the events.

Basketball New Zealand 3x3 Manager, David Huxford, says BBNZ have been in discussions with Xross Sports since 2017 and that this is a great gain for New Zealand basketball players.

“This is a huge deal for 3x3 basketball in Aotearoa. It’s worth celebrating that we have international funding coming in from Japan to host a league. The fact that they chose New Zealand as a worthy addition to their league is very exciting for us. 

“Basketball New Zealand has worked hard to provide 3x3 opportunities through the Quest Tour with little backing. Now, this new venture steps up a level and taps nicely into the 3x3 pathway that starts with the Quest Tour. Kiwi players will play regular games and the league will feature the same teams, meaning they get regular competition,” says Huxford.

Takaaki Nakamura, the Commissioner of 3x3.EXE PREMIER, says he’s pleased to see this partnership with Basketball of New Zealand form. 

“Our league structure is developing because of this partnership and I am sure that, together, we will make it one of great global 3x3 leagues in the world. 

“The relationship between New Zealand and us has been created during the past two years in Utsunomiya. Teams from Auckland have visited there for FIBA 3x3 World Tour Masters and had some cultural exchange events. Their community service for children and city were great and through 3x3, we got connected. Our league stared in 2014 with seven teams in Japan and last season we had 36 teams in Japan and Korea. The 3x3 League had seven teams when we built the Premier in 2014, but now we developed 36 teams in 2018. In 2019, we will expand 72 teams including New Zealand and other overseas conferences. I am excited to make New Zealand part of our global league in 2019 season,” says Mr Nakamura.

The Southern Conference will be co-hosted with the Canterbury Basketball Association (CBA). Chief Executive Paul Duggan says hosting the Southern Conference is a brilliant addition to Christchurch’s sporting fixtures.

“The prospect of a professional league in the city is a fantastic opportunity for our local players. All of our men’s premier clubs have expressed an interest in entering. 

“We have had significant success in 3x3 in the past, with the Lincoln University team having competed internationally at the FISU World Tertiary 3x3 Championships, and the Canterbury leg of the Basketball New Zealand 3x3 Quest Tour traditionally has the highest number of team entries. It is encouraging that the Canterbury basketball community has been recognised with this opportunity to compete on the world stage, and we are confident that the people of Christchurch will get fully behind the league,” says Duggan.

The Christchurch teams vying for selection are the Lincoln University Rams, the University of Canterbury Falcons, the Wolverines, the Checkers, Atami, the Pioneer Pacers and the Gators.

The Northern Conference will be co-hosted by Karl Noyer through his business called Precision Movement. Noyer is a long time New Zealand representative in 3x3 having played in four FIBA 3x3 World Cups, one FIBA Asia Cup and three FIBA World Tour Masters. Noyer is also the Under 18 New Zealand 3x3 coach. 

“The 3x3 EXE Premiere Northern Conference is going to be massive for the sport of 3x3 in New Zealand. The Northern Conference is going to provide eight high-quality 3x3 tournaments in Auckland. 

“It’s exciting that two of the six teams that play in the Northern Conference will fly to Tokyo to compete in the final and will be playing on the world stage. Japan is highly regarded in the world for 3x3 as they play the sport all year round and have one of the only professional leagues in the world. This league will open up all sorts of avenues within the sport of 3x3 in the near future,” says Noyer.

The Northern teams are yet to be named.

The same system will be run in Thailand and Korea, with two conferences and 12 teams in each country. The teams that win each conference will go straight the 3x3.EXE PREMIER Final. The teams that come second in each conference will go to a playoff tournament in an attempt to qualify.

The 3x3.EXE PREMIER New Zealand League will feature the same teams and be played over set dates. This inaugural year, teams will be selected by invite only and must be available for every round. The competition will be points based, with the top two scoring teams from each conference heading to the 3x3.EXE PREMIER finals in Tokyo in September. 

More information:

3x3.EXE PREMIER history in Japan:
• 2013. 3x3.EXE brand was launched in Japan and Xross Sports Marketing Ltd started organising 3x3 tournaments.
• 2014. The 3x3.EXE Premiere is launched – the world’s first professional 3x3 league with seven teams.
• 2015.  Expanded to eight teams.
• 2016. Expanded to 12 teams and two conferences.
• 2017. Expanded to 18 teams and three conferences.  Also hosted the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Masters in Utsunomiya.
• 2018. Expanded to 26 teams and 6 conferences. Also hosted the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Masters in Utsunomiya.  Launched the world’s first women’s pro league with six teams.

The 3x3.EXE PREMIER  New Zealand League:

• New Zealand will have two conferences in 2019.  
• Each conference will be split into two pools of three teams, each will play a round robin and playoff.
• There are eight rounds to be played between May and August 2019.
• Teams will be provided with playing uniforms.
• Teams receive Premiere Points for each round (First place = four points. Second place = three points. Third and fourth places = two points). Teams will also gain FIBA Ranking Points, which will assist with qualifying for FIBA World Cup and Olympic events. 
• The top two teams from each conference (those with the most Premiere Points) will go to the 3x3.EXE PREMIERE Final in Tokyo, Japan in September 2019, all expenses paid.

Rounds:

• Round 1, 18-19 May 
• Round 2, 8-9 June 
• Round 3, 22-23 June 
• Round 4, 6-7 July 
• Round 5, 20-21 July 
• Round 6, 3-4 August 
• Round 7, 17-18 August 
• Round 8, 24-25 August
• 3x3.EXE Playoffs  in Tokyo, 7-8 September

Follow the 3x3.EXE Premier League on Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and on the website, www.NZ.basketball. 

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