SINGAPORE: While Australia dominated the court, winning both the men’s and women’s gold medal matches, the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2024 excitement went beyond the main competition, as there were other activities held during the competition to foster a sense of community and inspire future basketball stars in Singapore.In partnership with the Basketball Association of Singapore, Kallang Alive Sport Management organised the JR Hoopers programme and conducted a one-day skill clinic and a two-day camp between March 29 and 31. Over 150 youth were fortunate to benefit from the programme, which included four different categories (U11, U14, U15, U17), as they learned from Singapore’s best, and hopefully, they could represent Singapore in the future. Community competitions such as the ActiveSG Cup and Team Nila Challenge Cup were held at OCBC Square, Singapore Sports Hub, on the sidelines of the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2024.National 3×3 coaches such as Lazaar Rasic (Singapore), Damon Lowery (Australia), and Matthias Webber (Germany) conducted coaching forums and workshops to share knowledge and nurture the next generation of 3×3 coaches.More than 600 students from 13 schools, from primary to tertiary institutions, also participated in a specially curated FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2024 learning journey. They were shown around the Singapore Sports Hub to view the various venues hosting the event, had the opportunity to interact with Team Singapore athletes, and learned about sustainable practices in sport and at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2024.During the competition, Singapore Sports Hub also teamed up with youth culture giant HYPEBEAST to organise the ‘Festival of Basketball’. It is a collaboration that celebrates basketball, skateboarding, and the arts from the competition period to mid-April. The Festival of Basketball aims to bring sports alive by transforming the Sports Hub into a multi-purpose cultural space that seamlessly marries sports, lifestyle and culture. Beyond highlighting basketball as a sport, the free fest dives into the culture of basketball, featuring eye-popping murals and interactive installations. At its heart is the Garden City Slam mural at the Sports Hub Skate Park by multidisciplinary artist Alvin Tan (picture below). Alvin, along with Team Singapore athletes who represented Singapore in the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2024, was on-site last Sunday, putting the finishing touches to the mural alongside patrons of the Hub.Ultimately, there was no doubt that all eyes were still on the main court at the OCBC Square, where Australia cemented their status as the region’s 3×3 basketball powerhouse as they won both the men’s and women’s titles at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2024 on Sunday (March 31).
They dominated the half-court at the famous Singapore Sports Hub to win both the men’s and women’s for the second time, having achieved the same feat in 2019. Playing in their fifth straight men’s final, Australia reclaimed their crown and won a fourth Asia Cup title overall with a dominant 21-7 victory over Iran at the OCBC Square. They stifled Iran in a spectacular performance, pulling away early and never easing up. Most-valuable player Todd Blanchfield fittingly hit the two-pointer to seal Australia’s triumph. In the semi-finals, they avenged last year’s bitter defeat in the final to Mongolia with a convincing 21-11 win. “I remember like it was yesterday. I hate losing whether it’s cards or a game of basketball. The competitive juices kick in, especially in a gold medal game. And taking care of Mongolia in the semi-final was big. Obviously it was a bad taste left in my mouth from last year and it’s something we want to go one step further and two years ago, they came up with the goal. Unfortunately, we took a loss last year but to come away and get back to the top is where we want to be,” expressed Australia men’s team MVP Blanchfield.In the women’s final, all-conquering Australia successfully wrapped up their title defence with a tough 18-13 victory over New Zealand in a repeat of last year’s final. Australia held a slim 15-13 lead in the final minute before MVP Alex Wilson hit a clutch two to effectively end the New Zealanders’ resistance. “The atmosphere was awesome. It was a really good game. Kudos to New Zealand, they always play super hard, they’re super talented and it’s always going to be a good game facing them. I’m feeling pretty awesome, that felt great. We barely change the game plan every time, we just do us, we play our basketball and that’s it. This win means everything. Australia’s never gone back to back in FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup golds so it means everything, the pride for our country,” said a jubilant Anneli Maley from the Australia women’s team.Sports Hub will once again welcome basketball enthusiasts in Sept when it hosts the FIBA Intercontinental Cup. Last year, fans witnessed one of the most dramatic finals as Brazil Sesi Franca claimed a winning shot right at the buzzer to beat Germany’s Telekom Baskets Bonn 70-69.

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