Japan 3 On 3 Basketball Team

Both the Utsonomiya Brex and the Saitama Alphas, two of Japan’s FIBA 3×3 World Tour teams, will be competing in the FIBA 3×3 World Tour 2022 Cebu Masters, hoping to further establish Japan as a dominant force in Asian 3×3.

Japan 3 On 3 Basketball Team

Competing on the World Tour circuit, both teams have shown meritorious performance this year. Utsonomiya Brex is the world’s number 28 3v3 club. In May, at the Utsunomiya Masters, the team lost heartbreaking decisions to both Serbia’s then-No. 2 Liman and Lithuania’s then-No. 9 Sakiai on route to a ninth-place finish.

Japan 3 On 3 Basketball Team

The team, led by 6-foot-1 Yosuke Saito, Japan’s No. 2 rated 3×3 player, and 6-foot-2 Yasui Iijima, placed ninth at the Ulaanbaatar Challenger before breaking through with fifth and sixth place finishes at the Energy Sukhbaatar Challenger and the Penang Challenger.

Dusan Popovic, towering at 6’4″, is ranked 117th in the world individually, while Dusan Samardzic, also standing at 6’4″, is ranked 107th in the world and was a star for the Serbian national team that finished third at the FIBA 3×3 U23 World Cup.

But the Saitama Alphas are returning to the Philippines only two weeks after winning the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 33 International Quest on September 16 in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Utsunomiya Brex’s reign as Japan’s best team is being challenged by the Alphas, who have been active on the FIBA 3×3 tour.

With only three players and a bye into the qualification round, Saitama advanced to the quarterfinals of the Penang Challenger. The Alphas advanced to the main draw with victories over Malaysia’s Penang and Qatar’s Lusail.

The Alphas defeated world No. 10 Lausanne of Switzerland, 22-20, in the main draw. Saitama finished the tournament in seventh place, one spot higher than Cebu Chooks’ May 2017 finish in eighth place at the Manila Masters.

The Same Team That Triumphed in Sta. Rosa will be Playing for Saitama.

Expected to lead is Japan No. 3 Tomoya Ochia. Ochia has been a mainstay on the Japanese 3v3 squad for years and has competed at the Olympics in Tokyo, the FIBA 3v3 World Cup in 2022, and the FIBA 3v3 Asia Cup in 2022.

Two Serbian big men, 6’6″ Marko Milakovic and 6’9″ Teodor Atanasov, and the Japanese-Australian Ryo Ozawa round up the Saitama team that hopes to prove itself as the true Alphas of 3’3 basketball at the Cebu Masters.