July 25, 2021

By Rocky Swift

TOKYO (Reuters) – Top-seeded Serbia remained perfect in the Olympic men’s 3×3 basketball tournament on Sunday, beating Poland and Belgium to make it four straight wins.

Belgium, who earlier upset the second-seeded Russian Olympic Committee team, slipped to 2-2.

“We have stay focused,” said Serbia’s Dejan Majstorovic, who had four points in Sunday’s 15-12 victory over Poland. “Everybody can beat everybody.”

The Latvian men outlasted China 18-17 and are now 2-1 in the tournament.

In the morning games, Japan’s women improved to 2-1 with a 19-10 win over winless Mongolia, who were cheered on courtside by the country’s Prime Minister Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene, one of few dignitaries to make it to the scaled down Games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. first lady Jill Biden attended a game between their countrywomen on Saturday as 3×3 basketball made its Olympic debut https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/on-3×3-basketball-tokyo-olympics-2021-06-21.

Mongolia also lost against the Russian women, who benched their tallest player for most of the game but still rolled to a 21-5 victory. The Russian women are now 3-0, leading their division.

Italy overcame Romania 22-14 with Raelin D’Alie an impressive five-for-five from the two-point line. But D’Alie’s heroics weren’t enough to overcome the Chinese women’s team, who went repeatedly to 6’5″ Zhang Zhiting for hoop-side buckets, defeating Italy 22-13.

With an Olympics debut, 3×3 is looking to boost its global profile as a faster-paced, more compact alternative to basketball. The game is played on a half court and a team wins by reaching 21 points or having the most baskets by the end of the 10-minute game clock. A regular basket is worth one point, while one beyond the outer arc is worth two.

DJs play hip-hop music throughout competition 3×3 games, in keeping with the sport’s urban roots.

The medal matches will take place on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Ed Osmond)