Poland battle back, Austria make waves on Day 3 of FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023
VIENNA (Austria) - Poland (men) claw back from winless Day 1 to go unbeaten tonight while home side Austria (women) take top spot with a huge upset win over France on Day 3 of the Vienna FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023 on June 1.
Poland (men) knew it wasn’t gonna be easy. In an extremely balanced group and going 0-2 on Day 1, they knew nothing short of a perfect day would suffice.
The first tie of the day was against a gritty Lithuanian side. With no team letting up, the game went down to the wire. With 23 seconds left and a 2-point deficit staring down Poland, sharpshooter Przemyslaw Zamojski came in clutch, draining a huge two to force OT. The impact of ‘The Giant’ Adrian Bogucki was evident all game, dominating the boards. For the final bucket of the game, he went deep into his post-moves bag and got the finish to keep their hopes of progression alive with a 22-21 win.
Their next game against Belgium was a rebounding masterclass by Bogucki as his teammates drained buckets, picking up a crucial 15-21 victory. The results granted the Poles the top spot while Lithuania and Belgium fight to live another day in the play-in.
In group A, the reigning champions Serbia (men) dipped into their bag of tricks as they completed the sweep. In their first game against a young and vibrant Germany side, the familiar trio of Stojacic, Brankovic and Majstorovic connected superbly, picking up a comfortable 14 - 21 win. They went up against the other unbeaten side in the group in Brazil next, with little difference in outcome or strategy as the champions showcased exactly why they’re the ones to beat on the journey to Gold. Their 21 - 17 win in the final game guaranteed them the top spot while Brazil and France made their way to the play-in.
The headline of the day however, is none other than hosts Austria (women) who went unbeaten on the day to clutch top spot in Group A. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that last year’s World Cup gold medalists France would assume the position, especially after their strong display in the first three games of the group stages. The hometown side thought differently. Picking up a close 19 - 18 victory against a resilient Brazil side by committee, it all came down to the final game of the group against Les Blueus.
While initially close, tied at 3 - 3, the game quickly turned into a defensive masterclass. A joint effort to deny France any offensive opportunity. A modest 5-point lead came from their efforts which the hosts were able to maintain for most of the game. More importantly, they never allowed the on-fire French side to find their rhythm, riding on the home support to pick up the crucial victory, 10 - 13. The reigning champs do go through to the play-in alongside Spain.
On the women’s side, Canada and USA both went unbeaten on the day, creating a three-way tie between the two teams and Czech Republic. The points scored favored Canada as the group leaders with USA and Czech Republic making their way to the play-in.
The Group stages had been rough on Belgium and their star Thibaut Vervoort, going 1-2 in their initial 3 games. It came down to the final game of their campaign against Puerto Rico, a game they couldn’t afford to lose. A must-win game called for “Must-see TV”. Not being able to find the bucket from deep all tournament, game 4 was where it all changed for the Belgian, going 4 / 5 from two as his 10-point display took them to the crucial win against Puerto Rico.
On the women’s side, Spain got off to a rough start, losing 19 - 13 to Netherlands. To add to the despair, their talisman Sandra Ygueravide took a nasty blow to the head which kept her out for most of the game. With matters tensing up in the group heading into the final game, a win was paramount. Against a strong Brazil side, Ygueravide went off. She was all over the boards and put up 13 points! She scored the final two three throws to call game, picking up a 14 - 21 win.
The group stages wrap up tomorrow with the final two groups on both the men’s and women’s side battling it out. If you think today was full of surprises, just wait until tomorrow.