02/04/2024
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All we learned from FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup 2024

SINGAPORE -The season started spectacularly at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup 2024 in an unforgettable event played on March 27-31.

Here's all we learned from the five-day spectacle played for the second straight time at the famous Singapore Sports Hub OCBC Square.

Australia women's team are unbeatable 

There was no way Australia could match last year's campaign, right? When they didn't allow a single team to score more than 11 points against them.

Well the team affectionately known as 'Gangurrus' - using the same four stars as last year's triumph - were almost as dominant to clinch back-to-back triumphs for the first time. 

No team were able to crack double digits against them until the final when New Zealand put up a tough challenge, but Australia showcased their composure under pressure to step up in the nerve-jangling last minute.

They more than lived up to the hype to cement themselves as the undisputed powerhouse in Asia. It's almost a flawless team with perfect chemistry. 

They complement each other with MVP Alex Wilson, who enjoyed her 3x3 breakout at last year's event, proving that she's a legit star on the half-court. 

Marena Whittle again submitted another stellar all-round performance and so too athletic marvel Anneli Maley and speedy Lauren Mansfield,  who was again unguardable through her combination of fancy footwork and deadly shooting. 

 Having swept aside the competition in Asia, Australia will now set their attention to qualifying for the Olympics and winning a medal in Paris. 

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Different team, same result for Australia's men

There was an unknown over the Australian men's team, who sported a trio of new names to 3x3. 

But we shouldn't have ever doubted them because Australia stormed to gold in an unbeaten campaign after having to go through qualification.

It was their fourth title from the last five events as MVP Todd Blanchfield put on a shooting clinic to win MVP and extinguish the heartbreak from last year's heartbreak in the final against Mongolia. 

He was the team's talisman and led this younger Australian team with athletic beast Will Hickey exploding to the half-court in style with a dunking and blocking exhibition.

Australia's bid to rejuvenate their squad and freshen the team with young players appears to have paid off as they eye Olympic qualification. 

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Iran are a new force in 3x3

Iran medalled in the first edition of the Asia Cup in 2013, but it's been a barren run for them since. But last year Iran made it through to the quarters to lay the groundwork for their magical campaign this time around. 

Led by Ehasan Dalirzahan, who made the Team of the Tournament, Iran rolled through qualification before stunning No.1 seed China in pool play. 

They then had a miraculous OT victory over Asian powerhouse Japan in an unforgettable quarter-final. 

Matin Aghajanpour stepped up with a shot for the ages as Iran's momentum continued with an upset over New Zealand in the semis. They ran out of gas against Australia, but quite clearly a new force has arrived in Asian 3x3. 

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Mongolia's double bronze 

There was no more emotional moment in Singapore than when Mongolian women's hero Khulan Onolbaatar was in tears in the post-game interview after her 3x3-crazy nation had clinched bronze. 

It ended a long drought for Mongolia, who had not medalled in the women's draw since 2013. Mongolia shook off a big loss to Australia in the semis with a demolition of Chinese Taipei as there was not a dry eye around the Singapore Sports Hub. 

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Mongolia's night got even better when their men's team clinched bronze with a hard-fought win against New Zealand. Superstar Anand Ariunbold shrugged off a quiet start to the tournament with a heater on the fifth day capped by an insane 15 points to lift Mongolia to the bronze medal. 

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New teams emerge

Chinese Taipei had never medalled before, and came so close to history only to be denied by Mongolia in the women's bronze medal game. Yu Chieh Chen stamped herself as a certified bucket getter to finish with 27 points. 

Sri Lanka also emerged as a 3x3 nation on the rise after memorably making it through to the main draw of the men's.

Their major upset of the Republic of Korea in qualification will never be forgotten and they came so close to beating Mongolia in pool play. 

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Singapore Sports Hub was an amazing venue once again 

The Asia Cup returned to Singapore for the third straight year and the second consecutive time at the iconic Singapore Sports Hub OCBC Square.

The venue has hosted many famous sports events over the years, including high profile soccer matches and tennis tournaments, with 3x3 now becoming a popular fixture on the calendar. 

The bleachers were packed with passionate fans making the Singapore Sports Hub OCBC Square the place to be in glitzy Singapore. 

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