Basketball: Cagers welcome return of local competitions with 3x3 Men's Open

Team Busy (pictured) defeated Safsa Team 1 21-12 to claim the top spot at the BAS 3x3 Men's Open. PHOTO: BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - The competition courts here have been silent for the last two years owing to the pandemic, and the sounds of squeaky shoes and bouncing balls were much welcomed by the fraternity on Tuesday (April 12) as the Basketball Association of Singapore (BAS) 3x3 Men's Open tipped off.

The three-day event was the first local basketball competition to be held in Singapore since Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed on March 29, allowing some team sports and competitions to resume.

The 3x3 Men's Open saw 25 teams competing for the winners' trophy and $500 cash prize at the Singapore Basketball Centre.

In the final on Thursday, Team Busy comprising Singapore Slingers quartet Leon Kwek, Delvin Goh, Larry Liew and Lim Jun Yuan defeated Safsa Team 1 21-12 in front of about 20 spectators to claim the top spot.

The Women's Open will be held on April 22 and 23.

Both tournaments are specially organised by the BAS to select the winning teams to represent Singapore at the Fiba 3x3 Asia Cup held here from July 6 to 10.

BAS president Koh Koon Teck was delighted to see the return of competitions. The last one, the Youth Flex Team Sports Series 3x3, took place in January 2020. The association organised a Skills Challenge last December, when over 190 participants competed in the individual and duo categories.

Also on the calendar this year are: the Milo National Youth Tournament (June), Rigorer 3x3 Open competition (July), Youth League and BAS/Sports Hub 3x3 Open in September, National Basketball League (Men) in October, and Women National Basketball League a month later.

He said : "It feels really good. We have been sorely lacking this spirit of competition and the opportunity for players here to really test themselves against others at an organised level.

"It's a chance for the players as well as us from an organisational level, to see what improvements can be made for future competitions. "

The three-day event was the first local basketball competition held in Singapore since Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed. PHOTO: BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE

While pleased to see a good turnout of teams for the competition, Koh noted that some of them showed signs of ring rust.

He added: "During this tournament, you can see that many of them are lacking in fitness because they haven't played for sometime. But this is a good restart and we did see some good quality over the last few nights."

A variation of the 5-a-side game, 3x3 made its debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last August and Koh is eager for Singapore to get on board. The basketball chief had previously said that the association is targeting a spot at the 2032 Olympics in 3x3.

Team Busy captain Kwek, 26, said the 3x3 tournament was a good tune-up for them ahead of the May 12-23 SEA Games in Hanoi.

The national cager added: "It's fantastic to have all this. In the 3x3 format, it is always anybody's game so we definitely had to be at our best to ensure we would win this and get the chance to represent Singapore at the Asia Cup.

"It's good to see us teams being able to compete again after a few years of not having much to play for."

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