More than 600 players, registered in less than two hours, participated in the second Sport Arena Streetball tournament of 2023, with a total of 143 teams registered in the 13 age categories. The competition, which this year celebrates its 18th birthday, scheduled 257 3×3 basketball games from Friday to Sunday in a legitimate outdoor sports festival.
The second stop of the national 3×3 Sport Arena Streetball basketball circuit ended with the victory of the Foreign Ballers, who dramatically defeated, 17-15, the first stop champion CSM Constanta. Recent winner of the Champions League volleyball with VakifBank Istanbul, Alexia Căruțașu kicked off the final played on the courts of Politehnica University of Bucharest.
The best volleyball player raised in Romania in the last decades returned for a short time to one of her other passions, basketball. “I don’t know why I didn’t choose basketball, in my family only my grandfather and my aunt have a volleyball background, the rest are all from basketball. But I think if I could go back in time, I would still choose volleyball,” said Alexia, who performed the draw and symbolically gave the first pass before the start of the men’s Open final at the Sport Arena Streetball.
Top seed CSM Constanta suffered their first loss of the season despite leading by a comfortable 11-5 margin midway through the 10 minutes of regulation. The Foreign Ballers came back spectacularly in the second half and took the lead with just 27 seconds to go, 16-15, then managed to hold on at the end and score once more to close out the game.
In the final of the Women’s Open category, Agro Squad edged past ICIM Arad 14-11 for their second consecutive win of the season. Cătălina Ion led her team to victory with 25 points scored in the four games played and was named the best player of the tournament. In the Men’s Open, the individual award went to Jordan Swopshire with 47 points and 10 made shots from behind the arc.
The final of the under 18 category was one of the most hotly contested matches of the tournament. Alex Moroșanu scored the decisive two-point basket in overtime and his team Belelele lu’ Impresar defeated Oțelul Galați 14-12.
The last day of the competition also featured a special moment, a wheelchair basketball demonstration game by members of the Bucharest team, who provided an example of passion and determination for all present. Wheelchair basketball is one of the most practiced sports among people with physical disabilities, with over 100,000 athletes worldwide, both amateur and professional.
The kids stormed the Polytechnic fields, with over 90 of the teams entered in the children’s and juniors, from under 10 to under 18. There was also a record turnout in the under 14 girls’ category, where eight teams registered.
Even the rain disrupted the original programme and some of the matches were played indoors in the newly renovated Politehnica Bucharest University Arena, the atmosphere was just as heated. Saturday ended a little after midnight, but the joy of playing basketball was not altered at all by the late hour.
The national Sport Arena Streetball Tour has three more stops scheduled (30 June – 2 July, 28-30 July and 25-27 August) as well as a final, which will take place in Constanta on 8-10 September. The 2023 Sport Arena Streetball Tour champion in the Men’s Open category will represent Romania in the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters in Amsterdam.
Sport Arena Streetball events are brought to you by Mastercard, Nike, Horizon, Ideal Board Games and the Romanian Basketball Federation. The official radio of the competition is Kiss FM.