Locals Fall Short at Inaugural FIBA 3×3 World Tour Vladivostok Masters

Having won the privilege of representing Singapore at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Vladivostok Masters as part of their prize for clinching the Singapore Big Three title locally a month or so ago, the team of Hong Weijian, Lim Wai Sian, Leong Wai Meng and Tan Chin Hong were understandably excited about the opportunity to compete with top-level competition from all over the globe during their visit to Russia. As part of FIBA’s efforts to promote 3x3 basketball as the vehicle for bringing together players from all levels of the game, the World Tour features top players and teams from all over the globe, providing an unprecented level of exposure and competition to our local heroes.

This second stop of the World Tour saw fifteen teams compete for the grand prize of 12,000 USD at Quay Naberezhnava in the heart of Vladivostok on 21-22 July 2012, with the teams divided in three groups of five. The top two teams from each group advanced to the knockout phase, along with the two third-placed teams with superior results. The two finalists also earned tickets to Miami for the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final in late September, facing off against the top teams from the Sao Paulo, New York, Istanbul and Madrid legs of the event. Video not available
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The Singaporean quartet ended up being grouped with the teams from Primorsky Territory, Melbourne, Guangzhou and Tokyo, and the going was tough right from the start as the guys faced off against a calibre of competition rarely seen locally. Although they did not manage to win a game, the four Singaporeans did our nation proud by giving it their all and fighting hard for every point against much taller and bigger opponents. Eventually, eight teams advanced to the quarterfinals: PSRZ, Amur, Europe/Khabarovsk (all Russia), Auckland (New Zealand), Rucker Park (United States), New Taipei City (Taiwan), Melbourne and Geelong (both Australia). The teams battled it out for the top spots, with New Taipei City doing Asia proud by finishing in fourth place, after sharpshooter Yu Chun-An nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer to give them a win over Rucker Park. Video not available
The podium spots were a Russian affair, as Khabarovsk knocked off Amur in a thrilling affair, fueled by the three-point shooting of Dmitriy Sharabarin, before being knocked off themselves by PSRZ in the finals. In what must be a shocker for Singaporeans following PSRZ’s unimpressive showing in the Singapore Big Three, the team of ex-pro Mikhail Sorokin, Konstantin Bozghko, Eduard Sandler and Anatoly Nikitin rode their size advantage all the way to the title spot. Video not available
Beyond the games themselves, there were also performances by street artists and DJs, as well as some skills challenges. The three-point shootout was won by the aforementioned Yu Chun-An from New Taipei City, whereas the high-flying Eamon Larma-Ripon took home the dunk contest crown. Video not available
In all, the competition was an exciting one for all involved, and granted our local team an experience that they will certainly cherish. We will definitely be keeping an eye on the grand finals in Miami, and we are looking forward to next year’s edition of the Singapore Big Three as well! Will you be the next Three to represent our nation?

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