Canada's 3-on-3 basketball run ends with playoff loss
Previously unbeaten team eliminated by Netherlands in World Cup quarter-finals
Canada's surprising run at the 3-on-3 basketball World Cup came to a halt Tuesday with a quarter-final loss to the Netherlands.
The Canadian men's team suffered its first defeat of the tournament at an inopportune time, falling 18-16 to the Dutch in its first game of the knockout stage in Manila, Philippines.
Canada, which came into the 20-team tournament ranked 14th in the world, went a perfect 4-0 in pool play, including wins over No. 3 Russia and No. 6 Brazil.
Michael Linklater and Jermaine Bucknor scored five points each in the loss to the Netherlands, which was ranked No. 8 heading into the event. Steve Sir and Michael Lieffers added three points apiece for Canada.
The Dutch went on to upset No. 2-ranked Slovenia in the semifinals before falling to powerhouse Serbia 16-13 in the title game. Dusan Bulut scored a game-high seven points and received MVP honours as the top-ranked Serbs captured their third consecutive men's World Cup and fourth in five tries.
Canada did not have an entry in the women's 3-on-3 World Cup, which Italy won for the first time by defeating defending-champion Russia 16-12 on Tuesday. The Italians also knocked off top-ranked China in the semifinals en route to winning their first medal in the short history of the 3-on-3 World Cup, which began in 2012.
The Canadian men are hoping their first World Cup appearance is a stepping stone to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, where 3-on-3 basketball will make its Olympic debut. Only eight teams will qualify for each of the men's and women's tournaments in Tokyo.
The 3-on-3 game is designed to be a simpler, faster-paced version of traditional basketball. It's typically played outdoors on a half court with one basket. Teams are allowed one sub on the bench. The shot clock starts at 12 seconds (half as much time as NBA players get). Shots made from inside the arc, as well as free throws, are worth one point. Shots made from beyond the arc are worth two. When the defensive team gains possession of the ball, they have to take it out beyond the arc. Games last 10 minutes, or until a team reaches 21 points.