TOKYO (Reuters) – Leaders Serbia retained their spot in the men’s 3×3 Olympic basketball tournament on Sunday, as the Japanese women stunned the French favorite.
3×3 Basketball saw many ups and downs on its debut at the Summer Games, but Serbia’s dominance has remained consistent. The four-man team led by Dusan Domović Bulot defeated Poland and a strong Belgium team on Sunday to be the only one at the top of the men’s competition with a 4-0 score.
“We weren’t teammates before, so I think we can play better and better in every game,” said Bulot, the first true 3×3 basketball player. “We’re still investigating each other and what we can do.”
The Japanese sent Mongolia without a win before beating France 19-15 in the evening. The score was roughly equal among the Japanese players, who used quick and timely passes to surprise their higher ranked opponents.
“I think the strength of the Japanese team is that we cover each other and score points together to make up for what we don’t have,” said Mai Yamamoto.
The French women later surrendered to China 13-20, dropping the team to the 1-3 record in the first two days.
“Of course we don’t enjoy it. We are in the Olympics and we have to win,” said Frenchwoman Marie-Yves Paget. “We need to rest, get rid of our negative thoughts, sleep well and prepare for tomorrow.”
In an undefeated women’s team battle, the United States defeated the Russian Olympic Committee 20-16 led by Alisha Gray, who plays the Dallas Wings guard.
The Mongolian women, who have not yet won any victories, were encouraged by Prime Minister Lovsannam Serin Uyun Erdin, one of the few dignitaries to make it to the mini-games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. French President Emmanuel Macron and US First Lady Jill Biden attended a match between their teams on Saturday where 3×3 basketball made its Olympic debut.
Italy defeated Romania 22-14, with Reelin Deli 5-5 from the two-point line. But D’Alie’s tournaments weren’t enough to beat the Chinese women’s team, who repeatedly went to 6’5″ Zhang Zhiting for side bucks, beating Italy 22-13. Italy is now 2-2 in the tournament consisting of eight teams. Both men and women.
With the Olympics debuting, 3×3 is looking to cement its global position as a faster and more compact alternative to basketball.
DJs play hip-hop in all 3×3 competition matches, in keeping with the sport’s urban roots.
The medal matches will be played on Wednesday.
(Rocky Swift reports) Baffling out the door Peter Rutherford and Ed Osmond
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