The Canadian contingent in Chicago qualified for the tournament after winning Canada Basketball’s 3×3 Canada Quest tournaments. The series of events were created in promotion of the rising sport of 3×3 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 Chicago, USA following a successful run through Canada Basketball’s 3×3 Canada Quest tournament in Edmonton. After finishing 2nd in last year’s FIBA 3×3 World Tour San Juan Masters and lost in the first round of playoffs in the World Tour Final in Istanbul, Turkey in 2013, the team came back this year retooled and invigorated. The four members of the team – Michael Linklater, Michael Lieffers, O’Neil Gordon and Willie Murdaugh, played an incredible tournament with tenacious defense and high octane offense.
The group’s familiarity and chemistry showed on the court as the team powered through Pool D play with a perfect 2-0 record following victories over Team Denver of the United States (16-14) and Team Rio Piedras of Puerto Rico (15-11).
The quarter-finals saw Saskatoon match-up against Team Lousiville of the United States. The American side finished the first round with a 1-1 record and fell to Saskatoon by a count of 21-13. In semi-final action, Saksatoon faced a tougher and bigger Team Philadelphia. Again, showing that defense wins game, the team played an aggressive blend of basketball forcing turnovers and executing on the offensive end, winning the game 21-10. Team Denver dismissed Team Chi-Town of the United States in the other semi-final by a score of 17-16 to set up a rematch of Group D teams for the final.
The championship match was a hard-fought affair, but Saskatoon kept up the intensity throughout the entire game and went on to capture the championship title, a grand prize of $10,000 and a berth to compete in the FIBA World Tour Final in Tokyo, Japan.
The FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final will begin on October 11 and wrap-up the following day. Team Manila (Philippines), Team Doha (Qatar) and Team Wukesong (China) had all previously qualified for the event through July’s FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters tournament in Manila and Beijing. Five squads have now qualified for the 12-team final competition. For more information regarding the FIBA 3×3 World Tour, please visit the tournament’s official website at 3x3worldtour.com.
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