Team Auckland managed to make it through to the quarterfinals at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour in Japan with some impressive play during the pool phase but were ultimately eliminated by Team Ljubljana (Slovenia).
The quarterfinal matchup was a closely fought contest with the game going down to the final shot, but the last second two-point heave by New Zealand’s Karl Noyer narrowly missed.
Noyer said fatigue became a factor down the stretch in the team’s 18-17 loss.
“It was another competitive game. Had a shot to win it at the end but just couldn’t get it. The boys got a little fatigued in the last three minutes or so trying to hold on.”
Auckland managed to get through to the knockout round on Day 2 of the event by placing second in pool play. They dropped their first game against Piran (Slovenia) 22-17 but bounced back to grab a 21-15 win over Dongguan (China). Auckland came into the World Tour as the 12th ranked team out of 14, so it was an impressive effort to make it as far as they did.
Liman (Serbia) won the overall tournament, defeating Amsterdam (Netherlands) in the final. Auckland placed seventh.
Noyer said it was a great experience in Japan and he was pleased that the team was able to surprise people with their play.
“It was an amazing experience and the best a New Zealand team has done at a World Tour event so far. I think after the event we had surprised a few people and showed everyone that we could compete at the highest level of 3x3 basketball.
“For us moving forward, we will continue to stay together as a group and work towards the CLB Australian competitions which are set to start in October; we’re hoping to attend as many tournaments as we can. Having played together for almost a full year has helped tremendously towards our success in Japan.”
Noyer said that 3x3 basketball is rapidly growing around the world and he’s pleased that New Zealand is right in amongst it.
“The exposure and following outside of NZ is huge. Lots of teams are fighting to get to the World Tour events and get their ranking points up for the Olympics in 2020. Most teams that are entering these competitions are now professional players that play 3x3 all year round with the help of their federation and/or sponsorship.”
Noyer will be shifting into a coaching role for the next three months. He’ll coach the Under 18 Men’s team at the Asia Cup in September, along with the 3x3 NZ Youth Olympic team that’s heading to Argentina in October.
· See FIBA’s tournament website here: https://bit.ly/2JO6pcB
· More basketball news at www.nz.basketball and Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.