TOKYO/SENDAI (3x3) - Team Saskatoon – a city of around 200,000 inhabitants in the middle of Canada – made quite an impression on the first day of competition at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final in the state-of the-art Xebio Arena in Sendai, Japan on 11 October 2014.
The Chicago Masters winners won both games before the 10-minute limit in Pool D including a stunning 21-6 rout of Trbovlje (SLO), the Lausanne Masters winners. The muscular Willie Murdaugh hit no less than eight shots from behind the arc during that game.
Two other teams remained undefeated after day one, starting with Kranj (SLO) who also twice reached the KO number of 21 in Pool C against Jakarta (INA) and Wukesong (CHN). The 28 year-old Mensud Julevic had back-to-back 12-point performances and topped all scorers on Saturday night.
After a large (22-11) victory against Sao Paulo (BRA), Team Bucharest (ROU) needed an overtime in Pool B to defeat a young and athletic Manila West team (PHI) led by the electrifying Terrence Romeo.
Pool A was by far the most unpredictable group as Denver (USA) shocked the top-seeded Novi Sad (SRB) in the first game of the day… only to lose against Santos (BRA) a few moments later. In a genuine win-or-go-home situation, Novi Sad stepped up and barred Santos from making it to the quarter-finals for just three points scored.
Saskatoon confirmed their rare form in the Nike Dunk Contest Qualifier. His 360-degree jam and a big dunk over a cheerleader earned him a trip to the Final on Sunday at 16:05 (GMT+9) local time against none other than two-time FIBA 3x3 World Tour dunk champion Rafal ‘Lipek’ Lipinski and the shortest professional dunker in the world Porter ‘What’s Gravity?!’ Maberry.
The event starts on Sunday with the Samsung Shoot-Out Contest from 12:20 local time (GMT+9), with the quarter-finals starting with the match-up between Novi Sad (SRB) and Trbovlje (SLO).
12:45 Novi Sad (SRB, #1) - Trbovlje (SLO, #4)
13:15 Kranj (SLO, #3) - Manila West (PHI, #10)
13:45 Bucharest (ROU, #2) - Jakarta (INA, #9)
14:15 Saskatoon (CAN, #5) - Denver (USA, #7)
The final game is scheduled at 16:35 local time (GMT+9).
The winners of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour win 20,000 USD in prize money and a trip to the FIBA 3x3 All Stars, where the prize money reaches a grand total of 120,000 USD in Doha, Qatar on 12 December 2014.
All the action is available on 3x3’s official YouTube channel.