New Delhi [India], March 27 (ANI): Indian Men's 3x3 Basketball rankings have shown a spectacular jump from 70th to 16th, thanks to the recently concluded third season of the Basketball Federation of India and International Basketball Federation (FIBA) backed 3x3 Pro Basketball League (3BL).
The 3BL Season 3 was held in Mohali from March 8 to March 21 and saw participation from leading national and international men's and women's 3x3 Basketball players.
Top Indian men's and women's team stars from across the country including Vishesh Bhriguvanshi (Arjuna Awardee and captain of the men's national team), Anitha Pauldurai (Padma Shri), Geethu Anna Rahul (Arjuna Awardee), Raspreet Sidhu, Amritpal Singh, Palpreet Singh (ex-NBA player), Princepal Singh (ex-NBA player) and Stephy Nixon, to name just a few, were seen in action across 18 total franchises (12 men's and 6 women's).
A post-season press conference was held earlier today at Taj Mahal hotel, conducted by 3BL Commissioner Rohit Bakshi and Prerna Sharma, Director of YKBK Enterprise Pvt Ltd., which owns the '3BL' intellectual property. Also in attendance were the two 3BL Season 3 champion teams Gurugram Masters (men) and Delhi Divas (women), besides other foreign players. Vikas Bansal and Rajeev Tiwari, the owners of the Gurugram Masters franchise, which is the reigning champion in the men's league, were present as well.
"Prior to the start of 3BL Season 3, we had promised that the Indian men team's global FIBA 3x3 federation ranking would be around 30th. We are pleased to confirm that Indian men now have ranked 16th in the World, ahead of Asian powerhouses like China, Iran and Philippines and even Australia, which competes in the Asian circuit," Prerna Sharma said.
"I would like to congratulate India's men's basketball players, because besides being among the top 20 in the world, our men's 3x3 ranking is also second-best across the whole of Asia, behind only Mongolia," Rohit Bakshi said.
"We need to maintain men and women's FIBA 3x3 World ranking and improve to be under 4th in the world rankings by the 31st October 2023 to ensure both our men and women's teams qualify to the 2024 Paris Olympics."
Going by the qualification criteria at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, only 8 teams per gender compete at the 3x3 event in the Olympics. The top four ranked teams (as per the FIBA 3x3 Federations' Ranking) get direct entry, while the next 16 ranked teams play in an Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
In other words, as per today's FIBA 3x3 men's rankings, the Indian team would be eligible to participate in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, by virtue of being the 16 ranked teams in the World.
In the men's section, Gurugram Masters has crowned champions, Ahmedabad Wingers were the runners up and Mumbai Heroes were placed third.
The winning men's team was awarded INR 35 lakh, runners up won INR 25 lakh and the third-placed team received INR 15 lakh.
"We are happy that our team Gurugram Masters could repeat as champions," said Mr Rajeev Tiwari, co-owner of the Gurugram Masters franchise.
"The competition is getting tougher and tougher. We will continue to dominate the league and win the World Tour Final 2022 to be the best team in the world," said Vikas Bansal, co-owner of Gurugram Masters.
Additionally, 3BL Season 3's champion team Gurugram Masters will be participating in the prestigious FIBA 3x3 'World Tour' event in the Philippines and a FIBA 3x3 'Challenger' event in Mongolia. Meanwhile, runners up Ahmedabad Wingers will be competing in the first-ever ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) 3x3 Cup in Bali, Indonesia.
The ABL 3x3 Cup will be held on 16-17 April, and the FIBA 3x3 World Tour event in the Philippines will take place in Manila on 28-29 May. The dates of the 'Challenger' event in Mongolia hasn't yet been decided, but the venue has been confirmed as its capital city of Ulaanbaatar.
Former India captain Raspreet Sidhu led Delhi Divas were crowned the champions of the second season of the Women's League that was held alongside the third season of the Men's League.
"Delhi Divas will be joining men's runners up Ahmedabad Wingers, at the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) 3x3 Cup in Indonesia. I am proud to be the owner of Delhi Divas and we will support our team to win the Championship title in ABL as we did in 3BL Season 3," said Vivek Kumar Singh, owner of Delhi Divas and Delhi Hoopers.
"Come 3BL Season 4, we will be doubling the number of women's teams from six to twelve. This will increase the number of Indian women's players registered on the FIBA 3x3 portal and drive up the Indian women's ranking as well, to bring it on par with men," Prerna Sharma, 3BL Director said.
"I thank all the sponsors and partners who associated with 3BL Season 3, starting with Hotel Wyndham Chandigarh Mohali - for their incredible hospitality, Nivia - for the eye-catching jerseys, Boxo Singh Sports Worldwide Pvt Ltd. - our Name Partner, Fortis Hospital Mohali - for their medical assistance which included conducting surgery on an injured foreign player, Red Bull - our Energy Drink Partner for keeping our players well hydrated, Sony LIV - our live streaming partner and 94.3 MY FM - our Radio Partner. Without their backing, organizing a League at this scale would have simply not been possible," Prerna Sharma said.
"I would like to convey my heartfelt gratitude to all the media in attendance, for your extensive coverage of 3BL - India's first and only 3x3 Pro Basketball League. We hope you will continue supporting us in our larger mission to help BFI achieve its goal of seeing Indian basketball teams qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics," Rohit Bakshi said. (ANI)