After nine stops stretching the length of the country, the 3X3 Quest Tour wrapped up in Auckland on Saturday. The World Tour Qualifier Finals were held at the Cloud on the Auckland waterfront where the best 3X3 teams from around New Zealand vied for a place at the FIBA World Tour Masters in Japan. Team PM led by Karl Noyer came out on top in a closely fought final against Lincoln University. In what was a fitting finish for a team that finished second in 2017, PM were pushed right to the end by a Lincoln team that can be proud of what they achieved on the Tour.
Eight teams were split into two pools of four and every game provided an intriguing match up. Blow outs were rare and the quality of 3X3 demonstrated the continuing emergence and growth of the modified format in New Zealand.
Auckland based teams PM, Flying Kiwis, The Den and Briggs were all considered contenders coming in to the day but it was 6th seed Lincoln University that played some of the best 3X3 basketball the Tour has seen since its inception. The 2017 Tertiary Champs looked at home in the 3X3 format and comfortably defeated higher ranked teams throughout the day.
In semi-final one, Lincoln made light work of Briggs, cruising through to the final 21 13. Semi-final two proved a much closer contest, with New Zealand’s top ranked 3X3 player, Rory Fannon and his team Flying Kiwis going head to head with PM. In what was a physical encounter, both teams looked fatigued but it was PM who emerged 21 16 to progress to the final.
PM got off to a hot start in the final, Karl Noyer led the early scoring knocking down outside shots to give his team a valuable buffer for the remainder of the contest. Lincoln refused to go away and clawed back what seemed like an insurmountable lead to draw within one point of PM. At 20 19, Zachary Easthope earned a single free throw that would send him and his teammates to Japan for the FIBA World Tour Masters. In a display of clutch shooting, Easthope stepped up and knocked down the free throw to give PM the Quest Tour Title.
After finishing bridesmaids in 2017, Karl Noyer was relieved to go one better this time around.
“We lost the last one by two points so it was great to get this one“
When asked about the Quest Tour in 2018, Noyer acknowledged the growing interest in 3X3.
“The competitions are getting way better which is awesome, every event has been really good. It’s great.”
PM will now head to Japan where they will represent their region and New Zealand at the FIBA World Tour Masters. The event will provide them with the opportunity to test their skills against some of the best exponents of the 3X3 game and should prove a tough challenge.
The Quest Tour continues to grow each year as the modified 3X3 format gets more and more traction on the world stage. Now with its inclusion in the Olympic Games it’s only expected to continue to develop as athletes target national representation and a chance to compete at one of sports pinnacle events.
Basketball New Zealand would like to thank the associations that helped throughout the Quest Tour this year, organising referees for the events and helping on event day. Basketball New Zealand would also like to extend a huge thank you to all those teams that registered and competed, the standard of play this season was higher than ever.
With 3X3 Secondary Schools Champs next week and Tertiary Champs later in the year, there is plenty more 3X3 basketball to come in 2018!
Photo by: Ken Coulson
Results of the final leg of the 3X3 Quest Tour:
Open Men's Winners: Team PM
- Karl Noyer
- Aaron Bailey Nowell
- Tom Allan
- Zac Easthope
Senior Mixed Winners: Blocboyz
- Jesse Sale
- Vlad Zenin
- Kees Grootjans
- Tyler Haldane
Junior Mixed Winners: Blitz
- Boston Caldwell
- Christian Martin
- Liam Spencer
- Zeke Priest
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