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Argentina's 3x3 Basketball evolves
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Argentina's 3x3 Basketball evolves

CONCORDIA, ENTRE RÍOS (Argentina) – With the Gold Medal of the Youth Olympic Games fresh on everyone’s minds, the 3x3 modality is rapidly evolving in Argentina. The Argentine Basketball Confederation (CABB, for its Spanish acronym) is organizing several activities so that the innovative discipline can acquire more and more strength in the South American country and to begin competing internationally. CABB has launched an activities calendar that includes the 3x3 Professional Tour – visiting urban areas throughout the country to promote and grow the discipline year after year. They have also launched an International Challenge, courses for coaches and referees, and the first edition of the 3x3 Championship organized by the Federal Basketball Tournament of CABB.

After a regular phase that began in October 2018, the grand finale of the 3x3 Championship took place on May 18 and 10 in the facilities of Club Ferrocarril in the city of Concordia, in Entre Ríos. The event's host brought together the best 16 of 70 teams that participated in the first stage of the competition. Independiente de Oliva, a team from Córdoba, were proclaimed champions after their undefeated participation (6-0).

The tournament granted the qualification to the Americas stage of the FIBA World Tour, taking place on July 6 and 7 in Mexico. There, the team of players of the ages of 18 to 20 will have the chance to get one of the two tickets for the Tour's Final, in Doha, Qatar.

Mauricio Chertin, President of the Professional Basketball Subcomission of Concordia's Club Ferrocarril, oversaw the tournament's final along Luciano Saborido, who’s responsible for CABB's 3x3. “This year, for the first time, the Federal Tournament had the initiative of having a parallel 3x3 tournament to the 5x5, where each one of the 70 teams had to present a 3x3 team. Each one played 24 games of the regular phase and for that reason, for the number of teams and games and the time it took, it was denominated as the world’s biggest 3x3 tournament. And that was the slogan we used to promote it. Until now there hadn’t been such a long tournament, involving so many teams and players,” Said Chertin to FIBA.basketball.

The games had a significant attendance of fans who came to the venue to enjoy this innovative basketball modality, which could also be seen in the CABB YouTube channel. The final had more than 8000 viewers watching.

“Considering that this was the first edition, the result has been very positive; many people were watching in the finals. Everything that was planned was achieved and surpassed. The awards ceremony was very oragnized and the delegations were all satisfied because they all had lodging and expenses paid. The live streaming was seamless,” said to FIBA.basketball Mariano Almeida, a member of Club Ferrocarril's press.

Chertin added: “Considering that the beginnings of this basketball were in the streets, that it’s related to street culture, to situations that mix a little bit of art, music, dance and sports itself, we set forth to organize a tournament that had a different and original mix to encompass the athletic aspect. We considered the origins of this sport and we gave it a good starting point. It was a sports success, we surpassed CABB's expectations and our own, and we're grateful to the Intendent, Enrique Cresto; the Province’s Secretary of Sports, José Gómez; the Municipal Secretary of Sports, Víctor Bernay; all of whom were very important because without their support, this would've been impossible. We're also grateful to the coaches, the club collaborators, and the parents of the players.”

“We met all the CABB requisites and they designated us as the hosts of the finals. We stated that our objective with this designation was to prize our players in the formative divisions who arrived at this stage, and to position the city and the club in the national stage, and to position ourselves as well as an important city for CABB and FIBA,” added the coach.

The first part of the tournament took place before each one of the Federal Tournament games and added up more than 800 games among the 70 teams that are part of the category. This number turned it into the largest 3x3 tournament in the world. This initiative allowed them to welcome around 400 new players to the FIBA platform, improving Argentina’s position in the world ranking and easing the acces to international tournaments.

“The development of the 3x3 in Argentina has taken a new impulse recently thanks to the sports itself and the formative (categories). CABB has taken the lead in this sense; 3x3 is a new sport that needs to be known. Each event we celebrate is accompanied by training sessions to broaden horizons in this new sports discipline that has grown in record time. In 2012 it was born at an international level and in 2017 it was admitted as an Olympic sport,” said Luciano Saborido, responsible for CABB's 3x3. He also explained: “We wanted to include the 3x3 in one of the largest tournaments in the world, such as Argentina's Federal Tournament, which is played throughout the whole country, travelling enormous distances. This allowed us to create new opportunities, and that is exactly what the 3x3 is: New Opportunities.”

“In Argentina there are no exclusive 3x3 players, referees, coaches or courts. We’ll discover new talents in these tournaments, from Chubut to Jujuy, including 21 of the 24 Argentine provinces, with thousands of kilometers traveled, where most participants are young,” added Saborido to FIBA.basketball, who added: “I have no doubts that we’ll do well and that this will be an extra boost, as was the Gold Medal in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, which helped us face an 840-game challenge this season – something huge – and the result was the one expected when passion and commitment are key aspects,” he assured.

This activity is present in Argentina since 2013 and Luciano Saborido was an independent promoter for four years in América. In Neuquén he won with his team the ticket to the 2012 World Tour San Pablo and were the first winners of the new event. From that moment on, and after winning a World Final in Miami and receiving subsequent call by CABB President Federico Susbielles, he took charge of the 3x3.

“I took on this challenge because Argentina has a unique potential and an array of great players that can be adapted to the 3x3 and distributed to each one of the country’s cities. There are kids dribbling balls everywhere and CABB can get there and promote (the 3x3). I'm interested in Argentina turning into a main character. We can’t not be one. We're one of the 8 FIBA founding federations, the first national team world champions, we broke the United States’ supremacy in Olympic medals at Athens 2004, the first U-18 champions in the World 3x3, Gold Medal in the Youth Games... We can’t ignore this new reality and we have the potential. We need to get organized and set common criteria and organize the 3x3 federatively as much as possible. We're going to focus on the tournaments to seek talents that can represent us in the next 3x3 games as a country.”

There’s a before and after October 17, 2018 in the history of Argentine 3x3 Basketball. The national men's team won the Gold Medal in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires and, from that moment on, everything has evolved.

“The Gold Medal in the Youth Games motivated the players and that's how we were able to develop a tournament that lasted 7 months. We're working on basketball schools and incorporating the 3x3 as a training method for mini basketball within the FIBA rules, and although there indeed is a Tour around the world, we must begin from the bottom up. The Argentine national team will be evolving to get to the World Cups and the Olympic Games with the best. We're these kids’ coaches and we have the responsibility of giving the national team the best players,” pointed out the National Director.

After an unforgettable 2018 thanks to the gold of the Youth Olympic Games, a titled conquered by Marco Giordano, Juan De la Fuente, Fausto Ruesga and Juan Hierrezuelo, Argentina will step on the court again in the 3x3 international competitions. The first hurdle will be the U-18 World Cup, taking place from June 3 to 7 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. After being absent for several years, the tournament will be the comeback of the South American nation to the international scene in the men's category. The U-18 World Cup is the oldest tournament in the FIBA 3x3 calendar, having taken place for the first time in 2011. Argentina has a rich history in this kind of event, having won the Silver in 2015 (Debrecen, Hungary) and the Gold in 2013 (Jakarta, Indonesia). However, they haven’t participated since 2016.

Like this, CABB continues to support 3x3 and provides this tool to keep evolving and fostering basketball in Argentina, and achieving, with daily work, a spot in the world stage.