3×3 Hustle Stars Headline FIBA Asia Cup

Some of the biggest stars from the NBL’s 3×3 Hustle events head to Shenzhen in China this weekend for the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2018 representing Australia against the best in the region.

The women’s team go into the competition as favourites, having claimed gold at the 2017 Asia Cup behind an incredible showing from Carlie Smith, Sarah McAppion, Isabelle Bourne and Chantella Perera.

In 2018, Australia returns with arguably an even stronger lineup headlined by Melbourne Boomers WNBL stars Bec Cole and Maddie Garrick, along with new addition Keely Froling while Smith returns from the 2017 team.

Cole is fresh off taking out the 3×3 Pro Hustle 1 with Spectres-iAthletic, going undefeated and downing Garrick’s Melbourne Boomers team in the Grand Final to win $10,000 in prize money.

Garrick, an Australian Opals player during the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup is familiar with the international stage and showed her talent in the 3×3 format furing the Pro Hustle almost singlehandedly getting Melbourne past a tough Sydney Uni Flames outfit.

The Men’s team includes Owen Odigie and Andrew Steel, both of whom were part of the Australian team that claimed a bronze medal at the 2017 Asia Cup.

Like the women, the men’s team is bolstered by the addition of 261-game NBL big man Tom Garlepp who had his first taste of 3×3 basketball in the NSW Big Hustle event where his team took home $5,000 in prize money.

Garlepp is yet to close the door on his NBL career but has identified the 3×3 game as a future for his basketball career with the skilled big expected to be a regular fixture in the Pro Hustle series.

In addition to Garlepp, the men’s team adds Tom Wright who had a brief stint with the Sydney Kings before becoming one of the most consistent players in the SEABL first with NW Tasmania before moving to the Nunawading Spectres.

Both National teams are being coached by Dave Biwer, who has overseen the success of the iAthletic teams in 3×3 Hustle play while also working the sidelines for the Nunawading Spectres in the SEABL.

The women will need to win their way through the qualifying draw in Pool B against Sri Lanka, Thailand and Samoa. Should they win Pool B, the women move into Pool D where they will face Japan and Iran.

In the men’s side of the competition, Australia will also need to partake in the Pool B qualifying draw alongside Indonesia, Iran, Samoa, Guam and Hong Kong. Should they win their way through the qualifying draw, the men will face Kazakhstan and familiar foes New Zealand in Pool D.

The New Zealand team, ToruXToru also took part in the 3×3 Pro Hustle 1 event finishing third overall behind eventual finalists The Platypuses and The Bears.

Rory Fannon, the #1 ranked 3×3 player in NZ was a standout for ToruXToru and is expected to be a handful once again in the Asia Cup before heading back to Australia to partake in the next 3×3 Pro Hustle event.

You’ll be able to catch both Australian teams in action on FIBA 3×3’s YouTube channel from April 27 to May 1.

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