Team Saskatoon has qualified for the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final in Istanbul, Turkey. The team placed second at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour San Juan Masters to stamp its ticket to October’s championship tournament. In addition to Saskatoon, two additional Canadian teams took part in the competition: Toronto and Montreal, but neither advanced to the quarter-finals.
The Canadian contingent in San Juan qualified for the tournament after winning Canada Basketball's 3x3 Canada Quest tournaments. The series of events were created in promotion of the rising sport of 3x3 in Canada and across the globe. Endorsed by FIBA, this unique form of the sport has grown in popularity since being played in international competition for the first time in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
Saskatoon qualified for the competition in San Juan, Puerto Rico following a successful run through Canada Basketball’s 3x3 Canada Quest tournament in Edmonton. The four members of the team – Michael Linklater, Trevor Nerdahl, Michael Lieffers and Troy Gottselig – were members of the 2010 edition of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
The group’s familiarity and chemistry showed on the court as the team powered through Pool C play with a perfect 3-0 record following victories over Team New York Staten of the United States (18-16), Team San Cristobal of the Dominican Republic (18-8) and Team Santurce of Puerto Rico (21-9). The 33 combined points allowed by Team Saskatoon was the lowest total surrendered by any of the 12 teams in the opening round.
The quarter-finals saw Saskatoon match-up against Team New York Queens of the United States. The American side finished the first round with a 2-1 record and fell to Saskatoon by a count of 16-13. In semifinal action, Canada faced fellow Group C team San Cristobal in a rematch and walked away with an 18-12 decision. The New Yorkers from Staten Island dismissed Team Philadelphia of the United States in the other semifinal by a score of 15-9 to set up another rematch of Group C teams for the final.
The championship match was a hard-fought affair, but Team New York Staten avenged its Day 1 loss to the Saskatchewan side. With the game’s 21-15 outcome, the Americans clinched the title while both teams advanced to the 3x3 finale in Istanbul.
The FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final will begin on October 4 and wrap-up the following day. Teams Jakarta and Nagoya previously qualified for the event through July’s FIBA 3x3 World Tour Tokyo Masters tournament. Four squads have now qualified for the 12-team final competition. For more information regarding the FIBA 3x3 World Tour, please visit the tournament’s official website.