Team Saskatoon earns berth to FIBA 3×3 world championships

Team Saskatoon earns berth to the 2017 FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final in China. File / Global News

Team Saskatoon has earned a spot at the FIBA 3×3 basketball world championships in China.

Continuing on their impressive showing this past summer, the team will head to the 2017 FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final being held in Beijing on Saturday and Sunday.

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Saskatoon hosted its first of three stops on the world tour in July.

The event drew crowds of well over 12,500 to the downtown core, where Team Saskatoon narrowly lost in the final.

WATCH BELOW: Team Saskatoon proud of its efforts at hometown FIBA 3×3 event

Click to play video: 'Team Saskatoon proud of its efforts at hometown FIBA 3×3 event' Team Saskatoon proud of its efforts at hometown FIBA 3×3 event
Team Saskatoon proud of its efforts at hometown FIBA 3×3 event – Jul 18, 2017

Michael Linklater, Michael Lieffers, Andrew Spagrud and Steve Sir are poised to make an impressive showing at the world championships this weekend.

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“We’ve worked out a number of things that were stopping us from getting past some of these teams or some of these points in these tournaments that we’ve been,” Linklater said.

“Some of our offence that we’ve figured out was a bit stagnant so being able to work through that this past weekend and having a lot more emotion and a lot more movement … basically playing or resembling our game to a lot of the top teams in the European region.”

The other 11 teams that made world tour finals are from Europe.

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Team Saskatoon finished the 2016 season in 10th place and is currently ranked seventh in the world.

“The season didn’t go quite as we wanted or as expected. We didn’t get a chance to travel as much as we wanted due to prior commitments, work and family. So it was very unfortunate for us and it ended up showing in our results this year,” Linklater said.

Linklater added that he’s curious to see just how good his team could become if it had more experience with high-level competition.

“Our training schedule has been pretty rigorous. We are here three days a week and now, with the last two weeks, we’ve really been lightening our weight load so a lot more explosive, getting our conditioning up a lot more,” Linklater said.

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“Something we’re going to be focusing a little bit more this tournament than we have others is making sure that we’re enjoying this experience. Sometimes we get so caught up in ‘we got to win.’ We lose track of why we started playing basketball in the first place.”

Team Saskatoon has reached the 3×3 finals four times in six seasons.

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