SINGAPORE - The Philippines (men) and New Zealand (women) were spectacular as the main draw for the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup 2022 was set after a thrilling day two.
The final seven places were determined with regional powers Philippines and New Zealand looking the real deal in Singapore's sunny and steamy conditions. The Philippines booked their spot and so too China, India and Korea.
New Zealand qualified into the women's main draw along with Uzbekistan and Thailand, who knocked out fancied Philippines.
This is the first Asian continental championship since 2019 and is being played in front of the iconic Marina Bay Sands.
After a tough Crelan FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2022, a new-look China were in devastating form as their tall line-up showcased superb athleticism to run rings around Tonga and Sri Lanka.
They shot the lights out with Zeyi Liu breathing fire as exciting 23-year-old twins Jiaren and Jiayi Zhao provided glimpses of their talent.
New Zealand's women came out aggressive and it paid off with a 21-5 thrashing of Palestine and they continued the sizzling shooting against India to easily qualify into the main draw.
New Zealand's game was highlighted by attacking the rim but also relentless hustle that left their opponents breathless in the hot outdoor conditions.
Mary Goulding powered New Zealand's strong start with 11 points as the 6ft (1.82m) dynamo overpowered Palestine with strong drives to the rim but also showed her liking for the long ball.
The 25-year-old didn't need to dominate against India in an even performance by New Zealand but she looms as a player to watch in the main draw.
India's men team progressed mostly though star Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, who tallied a pair of 11s to inspire his team into the main draw.
In a must win game against Turkmenistan, the 30-year-old inspired a comeback with hot shooting from deep as India claimed a nail-biter to keep their Asia Cup dreams alive.
With their usual army of fans in the bleachers, the Philippines women were red hot in a huge victory before the time limit against Jordan.
Their loud fans were hoping for much the same in the do-or-die game against Thailand and the Philippines appeared headed to the main draw as they took control early.
But Thailand never gave up and shut down a suddenly cold-shooting Philippines. It came down to the dying stages and Thailand needed a hero trailing 11-10 with 30 seconds left.
Up stepped Rujiwan Bunsinprom, who put the cape on and made the tough layup in traffic. She then hit the free throw to break the deadlock as Thailand prevailed to break the hearts of the Philippines, whose fans were silent in a rarity.
The Buzzer Beater
The Philippines men's team came out aggressive in their opener but had met their match against Jordan. It came down to the wire at 19 apiece in front of a large group of Filipino fans, who were willing their heroes on.
Joseph Eriobu had the game in his hand as he played cat and mouse with defender Caden Alnajdawi outside the arc. But he never lost his composure as the lethal lefty drained the buzzer beater to transform Marina Bay into downtown Manila.
The main draw of the Asia Cup starts on an action-packed day 3 with men's and women's Pool B and D play.
Pool A: Mongolia, India, Korea
Pool B: New Zealand, Qatar, Australia
Pool C: Singapore, Philippines, China
Pool D: Japan, Chinese Taipei, Uzbekistan
Pool A: Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Thailand
Pool B: Japan, Indonesia, Singapore
Pool C: China, Australia, New Zealand
Pool D: Chinese Taipei, Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka
Watch Day 3 of the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup 2022 on our YouTube channel.