The 3X3 Lions provided another nail-biter in their seventh and final group game at the Tokyo Olympics. Belgium beat Poland 16-14. Thibaut Vervoort scored the winning points ‘at the buzzer’. Thanks to Latvia’s 22-18 win against the Netherlands, the Lions qualified directly for the semi-finals. It will play against Latvia, which defeated Japan in the quarterfinals 21-18.
They were already certain of the quarterfinals, but thanks to the Latvian victory, Nick Celis, Thibaut Vervoort, Thierry Mariën and Raf Bogaerts can immediately show themselves in the semifinals.
The four members of 3X3 Team Antwerp form the 3X3 Lions and have become the “chouchous” of the organization at the Aomi Urban Sports Park. All seven group matches were thrillers and two were decided after overtime. The Belgians won four games, including against Latvia, the Netherlands, ROC (Russia) and Poland.
3X3 basketball, the fastest growing team sport in the world, is making a brilliant debut as an Olympic discipline in Tokyo. The 3X3 Lions played the ball perfectly and gave their business card. Today flames again and tomorrow the guys from “downtown Antwerp” can compete for an Olympic medal.
Against Poland, the 3X3 Lions were 11-14 in debt. In the last 70 seconds, Thibaut Vervoort corrected a crooked situation. He scored 5 of his 11 points in money time and propelled Belgium to victory. “Our ambition was top-6. We have filled it in. Our dream is third place. We are now looking for that,” said match winner Thibaut Vervoort. With a place in the semi-finals, third place is already a lot closer.
Semi-final against Latvia
The 3X3 Lions will face Latvia in the semifinals, which defeated Japan 21-18 in the quarterfinals. This match will start tomorrow at 11:40 AM Belgian time. In the group stage, Nick Celis and co. with 21-20 from the Latvians. The second semi-final is between big favorite Serbia and ROC (Russia). The final is at 3.25 pm, the match towards bronze at 2.15 pm.