Olympics: Serbia top Poland, Belgium to stay perfect in 3x3 hoops

Rocky Swift, Reuters

Posted at Jul 25 2021 06:39 PM

Olympics: Serbia top Poland, Belgium to stay perfect in 3x3 hoops 1
Michael Hicks of Poland in action with Mihailo Vasic of Serbia during the match. Andrew Boyers, Reuters.

TOKYO -- Top-seeded Serbia remained perfect in the Olympic men's 3x3 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 3x3 basketball made its Olympic debut.

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, 3x3 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 3x3 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 )