SANTO DOMINGO (Dominican Republic) - Nelsy Sentil represents the next generation of 3x3 stars bringing the game to all corners of the world. The 21-year-old has big aspirations for herself and her country as she continues her FIBA 3x3 journey.
We spoke with the rising Dominican star to chronicle her start with the game, what it means to captain her U23 World Cup team and her Olympic dreams.
FIBA.basketball: How did you become part of FIBA 3x3?
Nelsy Sentil: I came to FIBA 3x3 because of my passion for this sport. 3x3 is another form of basketball and due to my ability to shoot from distance, Rafael Faneyte brought me to my first 3x3 event. That was the start of my career as a player in FIBA 3x3 playing my first tournament in May 2017.
What was your first experience playing in 3x3?
My first experience was when the Dominican Republic 3x3 commission led by the national 3x3 coordinator, Elka Jimenez, organized a series of events in the country to publicize the new basketball format. In one of those events in Santo Domingo, with more than 30 teams, my team won first place. I liked the intensity of the game; it’s a game that challenges you as a player to develop your skills to the max. From that moment on, because of the way the coaches and leaders like Dr. Elieser Luvin explained the style, I fell in love. I entered the 3x3 Dominican family.
Can you describe your style of play? What are your strengths?
My style on the court is all about the team game because playing as a team divides the work and multiplies the results. My game is also about having great intensity and always trying to transmit energy to others. My strong points are definitely my long-distance shot, my speed on the court, and my dribbling skills.
You have represented the Dominican Republic four times in an international competition. What does it mean for you to represent your country in 3x3?
For me, there is nothing more gratifying than listening to my anthem play and seeing my flag on the podium of international competition. Since I left the country, those 10 letters of DOMINICANA are everything to me. They guide me to deliver my best when I play 3x3 and to be able to play for more than 10 million people who put their faith in me.
The U23 World Cup in China was the first time that a Dominican women's team reached a World Cup court. How did the team feel when representing the country on the world stage?
Reaching the FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup for the team and the entire 3x3 Dominican family was writing history for Dominican basketball. With the best 20 countries in the world, we demonstrated that there is talent, discipline, and effort in the Dominican Republic.
What was your experience of being the team captain? Are you proud of that title?
My experience as a captain was incredible. Being able to be in a scenario like that, gaining a little more leadership and sports experience, as a captain, I was able to develop the ability to make decisions at key moments of the game and know how to guide my team on and off the court. To be captain of the World Cup team was a dream come true. I was very proud because I knew that a whole team of players and managers trusted me to guide them in an event of that magnitude at the FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup.
What are your goals in FIBA 3x3? Is there a tournament you want to win more than the rest?
My objectives in 3x3 are to keep up the hard work, focus, and discipline, and to play a lot of 3x3 to maintain my ranking. I will continue to develop my skills as a player and help my team and the country to earn spots in various international events. One of my dreams is to earn the Dominican Republic a 3x3 basketball Olympic medal.