The International Basketball Federation will host its annual 3x3 U-18 World Championships at Jakarta’s iconic National Monument starting tomorrow, making Indonesia the first Asian country to host the tournament.
“I’m sure there were many countries willing to host the event, but FIBA trusted Indonesia to hold the tournament. It is a very big honor for us,” Erick Thorir, president of the Southeast Asian Basketball Association, said on Wednesday at a press conference.
“Only a handful of countries dominate in basketball presently, but in a three-on-three, every country has a chance to compete, including Indonesia. I hope the tournament will help improve player’s performances and ready them to compete in next year’s Nanjing Youth Olympic Games,” he said.
The four-day event will feature 32 men’s teams and 24 women’s teams from 44 countries across the globe playing three-on-three games, rather than the sport's traditional setup — five on each side.
The Indonesian Basketball Association (Perbasi) has selected two teams of four to compete in the men’s and women’s divisions. Rivaldo Tandra Pangesthio, Vincent Rivaldi Kosasih, M. Sandy Ibrahim Aziz and Ferdian Dwi Purwoko will compete in the men's division; and Calista Elvira, Monica Kristantia Halim, Regita Pramesti and Ida Ayu Nirmala Ratih Wijaya will compete in the women's.
Perbasi Secretary General Agus Mauro said the chosen players had all shown promise in their previous competitions — the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in January and the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing in August.
“We hope to see them escape the preliminary round. It’s a tough competition,” he said.
Indonesia’s men’s side will take on New Zealand, France and Lithuania in the Pool C qualifying round on Thursday. If the make the cut, they will continue to play Qatar, Latvia and Argentina on Friday. The women’s team will face Andorra, Ukraine and Canada in the Pool A qualifying, and then meet Brazil and Bulgaria the next day.
The top two teams from each bracket will proceed to the quarterfinals.
Indonesian player Vincent said his squad would try its best to make it to the next round.
“We have played some of the opposing teams, including New Zealand, at the Australian Festival. We hope to make it past the qualifier,” he said.