TOKYO (Reuters) -In a fluctuating match between two giants of 3×3 basketball, the Serbian men emerged victorious over Latvia on Monday in a likely preview of a medal match in the sport’s Olympic Games debut. The top-seeded Serbians improved to 6-0 with their 22-16 victory. Latvia slid to 3-2 on the third day of the […]
Olympics-Basketball 3×3-Serbian men edge out Latvia to stay perfect
TOKYO (Reuters) -In a fluctuating match between two giants of 3×3 basketball, the Serbian men emerged victorious over Latvia on Monday in a likely preview of a medal match in the sport’s Olympic Games debut.
The top-seeded Serbians improved to 6-0 with their 22-16 victory. Latvia slid to 3-2 on the third day of the tournament at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo.
“I think it’s possible that we will play against them in the final. They are a great team,” said Serbia’s Dejan Majstorovic, who had a team-leading 11 points.
“We are already in the semi-final. We have tomorrow one more game. We want to win that game, so we are focused on that.”
Serbia and Latvia have dominated the fledgling sport on the international circuit over the past decade.
Among other contenders, Belgium’s Thibaut Vervoort hit a two-pointer in overtime to give his team an upset 18-17 victory over the Netherlands.
“I shot it and I was thinking of going for an offensive rebound and it went in,” Vervoort said. I had to think about it for two seconds and wow, we won.”
The Dutch played most of the match a man down after Ross Bekkering exited with an injured hand.
The men of host nation Japan https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/basketball-3×3-texas-native-brown-goes-pitchers-mound-japanese-dunkmaster-2021-07-26 dropped games to both Serbia and the Russian Olympic Committee as their hopes of advancing faded.
Meanwhile, the Chinese men’s squad picked up their first wins with an upset victory over Belgium and a dramatic come from behind triumph over Poland, secured by a two-pointer from Yan Peng with less than a minute remaining.
In the women’s division, China toppled Japan 15-12 on flawless free throws and aggressive rebounds from Wang Lili. But the Japanese powered back against Italy, with Stephanie Mawuli hitting a two-pointer to seal the 22-10 win.
The United States leads the women’s division with a perfect 5-0 record after beating Italy 17-13 on Monday, powered six points each from WNBA players Stefanie Dolson and Allisha Gray.
“Against Italy we were not executing well, especially on defence,” said Jacquelyn Young, of Team USA. “We have a few things to clean up for our next game.”
The Romanian women secured their first win when Sonia Ursu hit a two-pointer to cement a 22-14 victory over winless Mongolia.
Making its Olympic debut, 3×3 is looking to boost its global profile as a faster-paced, more compact alternative to basketball.
DJs play hip-hop music throughout competition 3×3 games, in keeping with the sport’s urban roots.
The medal matches will take place on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Ed Osmond)