Canada Advances in FIBA 3×3 World Cup

Photos courtesy of FIBA

Team Canada started the 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup ice cold. They began the tournament-opener down 8-0 against Mongolia. They have not looked back since.

Canada rallied back against Mongolia and rattled off the next three games to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals. Team Canada is in the midst of their first-ever FIBA 3×3 (pronounced three on three or three x three) World Cup appearance. It is the top tournament right now in three on three basketball competition. Canada swept their group, tallying wins against Mongolia, Russia, Philippines and Brazil.

The preliminary round included a thrilling 20-19 victory over the host-nation Team Philippines. Canadian team captain Michael Linklater hit a running layup with five seconds left to clinch the game and Canada’s spot atop Pool C.

Canada is the 14thranked 3×3 team in the world. Three of their four wins in the 2018 World Cup have come against higher ranked opponents: Mongolia (11thranked), Brazil (sixth ranked) and Russia (third ranked).

Representing Canada at the tournament is Team Saskatoon, the top four-man unit in the country. Though not all members of the team are from the capital city of Saskatchewan, it is team captain Linklater’s home. While this is their first FIBA 3×3 World Cup, Team Saskatoon already has an established reputation in the sport.

While travelling the world on the FIBA 3×3 World Tour, a series of global tournaments, Team Saskatoon played four times in 2017. They placed second in the event held in Saskatoon last year. A 3×3 team consists of four players. For Team Canada this year, that is Linklater, Steve Sir, Jermaine Bucknor and Michael Lieffers.

Steve Sir has been the individual story for Canada thus far. He was the leading scorer of the World Cup through the first two games and is currently fourth in individual points heading into the elimination rounds. Considered a basketball sharpshooter, Sir has been lethal from two-point range.

What are the rules of 3×3 basketball?

3×3 basketball consists of one-point and two-point shots (traditionally two and three-pointers respectfully in traditional basketball). It is a fast-paced game played on half of a traditional basketball court, where a team must bring out the ball to past the two-point line before attempting to score. The first team to score 21 points or lead after 10 minutes of play wins the game.

*Input Image 2 here with caption: “Team Canada is undefeated so far in the tournament (Credit: FIBA).”

Reputation and future

For years, 3×3 has not been granted the same reputation as other global sports. It was considered street-ball, a playground variation of the more widely accepted sport of five-on-five basketball. However, it surely has not lacked in popularity. 3×3 basketball is the largest urban team sport in the world, according to a recent study commissioned by the International Olympic Committee.

That second-class reputation has certainly changed in the past decade. The sport made its worldwide competitive debut in 2010 and just 10 years later is set to enter the slate of events at the Olympic Games. Two years from now at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, 3×3 basketball will be featured.

Team Canada at the World Cup

Canada will match-up tomorrow morning against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals, the eighth ranked team in the world.

The winner of the Canada-Netherlands game will take on the winner of Slovenia-Ukraine in the semifinals. Both the semifinal and final games will be played later on in the day. With two more victories, Team Saskatoon can capture Canada’s first-ever FIBA 3×3 World Cup medal.