Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani (right), President of Qatar Basketball Federation (QBF) and Qatar Olympic Committeee Secretary-General and Yvan Mainini, FIBA President (second right) and Brezovica players are seen during the award ceremony of the 2013 FIBA 3x3 All Stars Championship at Katara Beach in Doha, yesterday.
BY DENZIL PINTO
DOHA: Slovenian champions Brezovica ended the year on a high after beating Novi Sad 12-9 to lift the FIBA 3x3 All Stars Championship title at Katara Beach in Doha, yesterday.
Brezovica formed of Blaz Cresnar, Jasmin Hercegovac, Ales Kunc and Rok Smaka, were more clinical than their opponents in front of the basket which proved to be the difference as the Slovenians picked up the top prize of $25,000 in front of a packed venue.
Qatar’s representative Doha Team, who had lost to the eventual champions 11-14 in the group stage, missed out on the final after a close 12-13 defeat against Novi Sad.
Brezovica’s Kunc, whose side had beaten Caracas 20-11 in the semi-final, said his team had to work hard for the title.
He said: “It was a close game. We knew Novi Sad are a very good team. We played on their weaknesses and we took our three point shots. We took our rebounds well today which was the key to winning the match.”
Speaking of how it felt to play in Qatar, Kunc said he enjoyed playing with children during a schools visit to promote the format.
He said: “It was great. I love Katara. I have only seen a little bit of Doha and wish to see more during my stay. I loved playing with the kids at school, and they cheered throughout the day. Yesterday (Wednesday) we had been there (at schools) and was a great experience to make the kids happy and hope we can come back.”
After losing the FIBA 3x3 World Tour final against Brezovica in Istanbul two months ago, Novi Sad scored the first point of the final. Brezovica came back into the game and led 5-3 with seven and a half minutes remaining.
Novi Sad’s Dusan Domovic Bulut, who is ranked number one in the world, tried to rally his team-mates Marko Zdero, Marko Savi and Nikola Ugrica, but his team missed a number of opportunities.
Brezovica increased their lead at 10-7 with two and half minutes remaining, and despite some late points by Novi Sad, the Slovenians held on to win 12-9.
Bulut said the defeat was hard to ‘swallow’ having played well during the final.
He said: “We played good but we missed everything. We scored only one three-pointer and when we play like that we cannot expect to win. This match being in the final means the defeat is hard to swallow. We have lost this title but we want to get it next year.”
Doha Team that consisted of Mansour Atif, Khalid Suliman Abdi, Mohammed Saleem Abdulla and Yaseen Musa, got their campaign off to a winning note with a 15-13 victory over Japan’s Nagoya.
The hosts reached the semi-finals despite a defeat to Brezovica.
Musa played a prominent role as Doha Team led 7-6 with four minutes remaining of the 10 minute match.
With the scores level at the end of normal time, Novi Sad scored the two points that was needed to end Doha Team’s campaign, which was watched by Qatar Basketball Federation (QBF) President and Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) Secretary-General Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
Musa said after the match: “It was a good experience for me and the team, and hope this will boost the basketball sport in Qatar.”
Those watching yesterday’s action were Birla Public School pupils Irene, Diwi and Kamitha.
The three pupils described the format as an ‘aerobatic’ sport that is fun to watch. The three pupils admitted that they are now ‘love the sport’ and will come back again next year to watch the competition.
Overall six teams took part in the one-day event which included a acrobatic dunkers performance, a Slam Dunk final and an exhibition dedicated to
basketball. THE PENINSULA