Swish.EXE earned themselves a ¥500,000 (NZD $7200) payday and an invitation to play a Korea after finishing third in the 3×3.EXE premier tournament at Roppongi Hills Arena.
The Auckland-based team of Karl Noyer, Tom Allan and Zach Easthope were the best Kiwi outfit to play in Tokyo, Japan. Their first game against Tryhoop Okayama.EXE was a nail biter, to which they prevailed 21-19.
The win sent them straight through to the quarterfinals where they would play Sekaie.EXE and again find themselves in the winner’s circle with a 21-14 triumph.
The humidity had been a factor across the two-day event and eventually took a toll on Swish. Fatigue appeared to be an issue in their semi-final and they would go on to lose 21-8 to Tokyo Dime.EXE.
Swish player Tom Allan said he and his teammates were stoked with their placing in the tournament.
“We wanted to go out there and play the best that we could, but we just ran out of gas there at the end.
“We tried to slow the pace down as much as we could towards the end, but Tokyo Dime are the national team here and they are very classy.
“We had thought it was going to be the end of our season but with an invitation to go on this tournament, it’ll be straight back into training for the next fortnight.
“We are certainly thrilled to finish third.”
Utsunomiya Brex.EXE won the tournament, beating Tokyo Dime.EXE 21-16 in the final.
The University of Canterbury.EXE were the only other New Zealand-based team to play on the second day and they won their first-round game against Sripatum University.EXE 20-15.
Their campaign came undone in the quarterfinals at the hands of the slick Utsunomiya Brex.EXE, who used their pace and superior shooting to send the Cantabrians crashing out of the tournament.
Christchurch’s Gators.EXE made the most of a last-minute opportunity to almost sneak into the main draw on Sunday. The Gators only made it to the qualifying tournament as a late replacement after a Korean team pulled out but were the sole Kiwi team out of three to win a game.
The Gators got it done in all areas of play in their first bout, thumping Thailand’s Shoot it Dragon.EXE 21-9.
Their sharp-shooter Matt Mischewski had the hot hand, knocking down six two-pointers. Barclay Miller dominated in the paint and had two dunks as their opponents wilted in the 33-degree heat.
Sripatum University.EXE was up next but a combination of a lack of energy combined with some perplexing foul calls late in the piece saw Gators’ dream run come to an end.
Gators gave it everything they had to try to make the main draw on Sunday but came up against a bigger, taller Sripatum team that eventually wore the Christchurch team down. With four minutes to go, it was 16 apiece but the scoring then dried up while their foes marched on to 21.
Mischewski, who was so dominant in their opening-round win, struggled to find his range but Miller impressed onlookers with solid back-to-back performances.
Miller said he was proud of his team and that they had exceeded their expectations.
”Considering we weren’t meant to be here; we are really happy but we thought we had a chance to get into the main draw for tomorrow, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
University of Auckland and Lincoln University both convincingly lost their opening round games.
Auckland couldn’t buy a trick or a bucket in their comprehensive exit at the hands of Japan’s KyotoBB.EXE. They struggled mightily on both sides of the ball and didn’t register their first two-pointer until the final two minutes of the match. The final score was 21-11.
Lincoln University found the defence of Japan’s Beef Man.EXE team too hot to handle and eventually succumbed 21-13.
Lincoln earned their way to Japan with their strong outside shooting, but they weren’t given the time or space to get their shots off.
The team of Josiah Williams, Ihaia Kendrew, Jayden Chan and Ben Hall could not claw their way back after trailing early.
Williams said they had hoped to knock down some early shots, but Beef Man starved them of the space they needed.
”Defensively they were a big step up for us and they didn’t let us play our game.
”We’ll go home disappointed, but we gave it everything.
All five teams are on their way home after a big weekend and what has been a long season. A big thank you to all the staff at Xross Sports Marketing in Japan for all of their assistance and to all the organisers who helped in the set-up and hosting of the two conferences this season.
Next up in the three-aside space is the 3×3 Quest Tour which starts in January next year. The 3×3.EXE Premier League will return in May of 2020, with major announcements to be made in the coming months.