Called “Mecca of 3×3 basketball” by Sports Illustrated, Bucharest was the host, last weekend, of the first tournament played by the new rules of the game announced by FIBA a few days ago.
Featuring some of the best Romanian players, including World Tour and 3×3 EuroTour stars Angel Santana, Catalin Bordei and Alin Spahiu, the Raiffeisen Streetball by Sport Arena was included in a urban sports festival called Street Heroes and had a massive success. Over 4000 people packed an old hangar of a dismantled airplane motor factory during the one day event that included rollerblades, trial bikes and skaters contests and concerts.
The 3×3 tournament was in the spotlight and so were the main actors.
“It’s good to play in such atmosphere. Romania proved in the past two years that is a respectable force in 3×3 basketball and the fans love this discipline. We already started preparations for the 2014 season, we wanted to shake the rust a little bit in this unusual winter tournament. I hope that a Romanian player will reach this year the number one position in the FIBA 3×3 World Ranking”, said Angel Santana (photo next), the heart and soul of Team Bucharest, the only team who reached both World Tour Finals so far.
It was for the first time that a tournament was played by the new rules of 3×3 basketball and the main change, the one regarding fouls and free throws integrated quickly among the players.
“The players and the referees assimilated the rules quite good. Few games ended in a free throw “contest”, but most of the games showed a better pace, were very competitive and really fun to watch”, said Radu Petre, manager of Sport Arena, the Romanian leading 3×3 basketball promoter.
The winner of the Elite category were Bob’s Squad Lions, while in the U18 category the best team was Capu’ Piscului.
Bucharest, who last year was part of the FIBA 3×3 EuroTour, will host this year two World Tour Qualifiers. The traditional Sport Arena Streetball Quest reached its 10th consecutive season, occasion of celebrations, while the Sport Arena Bucharest Challenger will be at its third edition.