Coenraad and Kunek thrilled on earning FIBA 3x3 Asian gold
Both Australian teams are still on cloud nine after taking historic gold at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup in Changsha, China last weekend.
The fourth year of the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup saw a record 40 teams (18 in the women's and 22 in the men's) adding further to the monumental win for our representative players.
Australia's men came up against host nation China in the semi-final and although the host crowd got noisy and passionate, their squad was unable to get past Australia's strong defence, managing just one point in the opening two minutes. They would go on to complete the tournament unbeaten, defeating Mongolia the 2017 Asia Cup winners, in a rematch of last year's final and defend their 2018 title.
The ageless and versatile big man Tim Coenraad scored 8 points in the final while also potting the 2 point game-winner for the green and gold.
“It was an awesome experience,” expressed Coenraad in speaking with The Pick and Roll.
“The guys on the team are fantastic! We came into that first game a little bit shaky but from there we came back together and really bought into what we were doing and from that point I couldn’t see us losing a game the way we were playing.
“Being a part of this squad is an honour because I know how many people would love to be in this position. The group of guys we got together for the last two tournaments have really set the tone. What I feel is great about our team is there are no egos – it does not matter where the points come from and we keep going back to that. Some games its Greg [Hire] hitting the shots, others it is me at the two point line or Tommy [Wright] getting through to the basket. No matter what happens, whoever is killing it we will be getting them the basketball.”
The women also struck gold, making it a double for Australia with a commanding 20-9 win against Kazakhstan in the final. This came as redemption after bowing out of last year’s tournament as bronze medal winners, a feat not lost on Alice Kunek.
“The Asia Cup was such an incredible experience,” shared Kunek in speaking with The Pick and Roll.
“We had a tough pool with New Zealand and China first up. We thought the competition was pretty tough and we were really happy with how we improved each game.
“Within our squad we all bring different strengths to the 3x3 game. We have great mix of inside and outside play. We work hard and play hard for one another. I think that’s the key to our team success.”
After the successful tournament, the Australians also saw key members selected to the All-Tournament teams. Tom Wright and Bec Cole earned selection for outstanding tournaments, while also taking out tournament MVP honours.
The Australian women’s team will now also compete in the first leg of the inaugural FIBA 3x3 Women's Series. The team stayed back in China following their Asian Cup win to compete, with pool games tipping off on Friday, 31 May. Australia will open their campaign against Mongolia at 7:10pm (all times AEST), followed by a game against Team USA at 8:00pm and then France at approximately 10:50pm. The finals will be played on Saturday night from 8:30pm.
With Australia fast building a strong reputation in 3x3 globally, it paves the way for a strong showing at the 3x3 World Cup in Amsterdam running from 18-23 June for which both teams qualified, and continued success for the green and gold into the future with a view to Tokyo 2020.