LANZHOU (China) – Russia (men’s) made it back-to-back titles while Japan (women’s) avenged last year’s heartbreak at the second edition of the FIBA 3×3 U23 World Cup 2019 in Lanzhou on October 2-6, 2019.
In the men’s draw, No.1 seeds Russia were again too good with a commanding 21-11 victory over Ukraine to take home gold. The number one U23 player in the world Alexander Zuev won his second straight MVP and dominated from deep, while Ilia Karpenkov was a beast inside.
Russia had few concerns during an unbeaten tournament although had a scare against Italy in an overtime quarter-final win, where Zuev scored the Tissot Buzzer Beater.
Serbia claimed the bronze medal with a 21-13 victory over the Netherlands with Vladimir Trajkovic putting on a show with a game-high 13-points to ensure he made the team of the tournament.
Highlight machine Dylan Van Eyck from the Netherlands was the top scorer overall with 53 points and joined Zuev and Trajkovic in the team of the tournament.
Japan made a fast start and led by five early before Russia hit back to ensure a thrilling finale. Moe Nagata made a tough layup with 40 seconds left and then Risa Nishioka hit the sealer as Japan ended Russia’s 42-game winning streak at U23 women’s level.
Both teams received their trophy from FIBA and NBA legend, FIBA Central Board member and Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) President Yao Ming.
Rising superstar Mai Yamamoto (Japan) won the MVP and was joined in the team of the tournament alongside Ekaterina Polyashova (Russia) and France’s Victoria Majekodunmi who topped all scorers with 51 points.
It was an important confidence boost for Japan before 3×3 makes its Olympics debut in Tokyo next year and the country’s first-ever world title in basketball.
France claimed bronze with a 20-14 win over Belarus.
Seven out of the 8 teams that reached the semi-finals play the FIBA 3×3 U23 Nations League, while 4 out of the 6 Team of The Tournament members have played 3×3 at the highest level, either at the FIBA 3×3 World Tour (Trajkovic and Zuev) or the Women’s Series (Majekodunmi and Yamamoto).
In the dunk contest, Justinas Jogminas (Lithuania) was spectacular and deservedly won gold to edge out local hope Weihao Li (China) who claimed silver. Aladji Bobo Magassa (Qatar) won bronze.
In the shoot-out contest, Mai Yamamoto (Japan) won her second gold while Rendijs Feikners (Latvia) claimed silver and local favorite Yan Peng (China) took home bronze.
Last but not least, Haimei Wang (China) won gold in a thrilling skills contest with Nadia Constantin (Switzerland) and Victoria Majekodunmi (France) taking home silver and bronze respectively.
Final standings of the FIBA 3×3 U23 World Cup 2019
11. New Zealand
17. United States
18. South Korea
11. Czech Republic
15. Dominican Republic
19. Sri Lanka