This weekend sees a quartet of New Zealand 3×3 athletes take on the world’s best at the FIBA 3×3 World Tour – the flagship competition of the FIBA 3×3 professional season – in Cebu, Philippines.
Heading on this tour will be Nikau McCullough, Chris McIntosh, Denhym Brooke and Taki Fahrensohn, along with 3×3 Tall Blacks head coach Piet Van Hasselt. These athletes were all part of the Tipua team which finished first at the NZ Pro 3×3 Quest National Final earlier this month, with McCullough hitting the game-winner to propel his team to the finals win.
In turn, this victory booked the squad a coveted place at the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Stop in Cebu, which is number eight in 13 stops for the World Tour in 2023.
Although the group will participate in at the Cebu stop under the ‘Auckland NZL’ moniker, all four athletes have some degree of Tall Blacks experience; McCullough having represented the 3×3 Tall Blacks at the 3×3 World Cup in Belgium in 2022, while McIntosh helped New Zealand win bronze at the 3×3 Asia Cup earlier this year.
Fahrensohn made 13 appearances for the Tall Blacks last year in the 5-on-5 setting – including an impressive showing at the FIBA Asia Cup – while Brooke has been part of previous 3×3 national team camp setups. Both Brooke and McIntosh were members of the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Manila Masters squad in 2022 – after winning the YouthTown 3X3 Quest Tour – with Denhym unable to travel due to his Sal’s NBL commitments.
As one of the lower-ranked teams in the event, the Auckland NZL team has been placed into Qualifying Draw A along with the Taichung Hong Jia and Lubao MCFASolver teams. They will need to win both qualifying games to progress to the main draw and beyond.
BBNZ 3×3 Programme Manager Nikolay Mikhalchuk says this FIBA 3×3 WT Stop will help generate vital FIBA 3×3 ranking points for New Zealand ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics Qualification.
“The majority of 3×3 competitions we play in earn us FIBA ranking points, set at different scales depending on the level of each 3×3 event,” says Mikhalchuk.
“Our goal is to generate as many ranking points as possible by 1st November, as this is the metric used to determine which countries head to the 2024 Olympic Qualifiers for 3×3 basketball.
“The FIBA 3×3 World Tour is the highest level of 3×3 competition with regards to ranking points. Hence, we aim to progress as far as possible in this event – if we can finish in the top 8, it’ll have a significant impact on our 3×3 Men’s World Ranking and our chances to earn a spot at the 3×3 Olympic Qualifiers.
“Additionally, our participation at the World Tour Cebu Stop will serve as a great indication to us where we’re at in the PRO 3×3 space.”
The Auckland NZL 3X3 team will compete in the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Cebu Stop this Saturday 23 September. New Zealand viewers can catch all the action live at www.youtube.com/FIBA3x3
More info at: https://worldtour.fiba3x3.com/2023/cebu
FIBA 3×3 World Tour, Cebu – Qualifying Draw A
5:20pm NZT, Sat 23 September – Auckland vs Taichung Hong Jia
5:55pm NZT, Sat 23 September – Lubao MCFASolver vs Auckland