Team Saskatoon proud of its efforts at hometown FIBA 3×3 event
The first ever FIBA 3×3 World Tour event in Saskatoon was a rousing success, with big crowds treated to some fantastic hoops action in a tremendous atmosphere.
The only thing missing was a championship for the home team, but despite a loss in the final, Team Saskatoon is proud of its performance.
“In competition, that’s all you can ask for. You do your best and if the outcome’s in your favour that’s great, but if you do your best and it’s not, there’s nothing more you can do,” said team captain Michael Linklater after falling 21-14 to Team Ljubljana (Slovenia) in the title game.
After playing their best game of the tournament in the semifinals, beating Gurabo (Puerto Rico) 21-10, the Bridge City ballers looked primed for a storybook finish, but the top-seeded Slovenians spoiled the party.
Team Ljubljana member Jasmin Hercegovac had high praise for the prairie crew, who they have faced several times before on the tour.
“Every game with them is tough. They’re great guys, great players, and honestly I really enjoy playing against them ’cause I know it’s going to be a tough game, but it’s going to be a clean basketball game,” he said.
The Saskatoon squad gave its fans a firsthand look at the sport that’s given them opportunities to see the world and compete against some of the top teams on the planet.
They proved, once again, why they are one of the best in the world, even after a lineup change that brought Edmontonian Steve Sir into the fold this season.
“This is the first time our (current) group has played together in a competitive tournament. We were in China (earlier this year) and we had a different team together as well as last weekend in the national championships so this was a good showing for us,” Linklater said.
As runner-up, Team Saskatoon earned a cheque for US$10,000 and valuable points that will impact their world ranking. They also took home the memories of playing a world tour event in front of friends and family for the first time.
“It was an amazing thing. I really have to say the city and the fans were spectacular. This is about as first-rate an event as you can put on in this world. It was unbelievable,” Sir said.
The FIBA 3×3 World Tour is slated to return to Saskatoon in 2018 and 2019 with the option of extending its commitment further into the future.
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