FIBA announced the pools of its` third edition of the 3×3 Asia Cup recently. 3×3 Asia Cup 2018 will be played in Shenzhen, China from April 27th – May 01st.

Sri Lanka, played in the 2017 edition of the tournament in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia as a direct ticket in the main draw. Stepping into the 2018 edition Sri Lanka failed to qualify in to main draw via a direct ticket. Thus, Sri Lanka will have to play a qualifying round before the main competition.

Read: FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2017: Sri Lanka off to Mongolia

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FIBA in their official press release states,

Since 22 men`s teams and 18 women`s teams registered to play in the third edition of the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup, the top 10 teams from each gender in the federation ranking on the November 01st 2017 cut-off date got a direct ticket to the main draw while the other teams will need to go through a qualifying draw” – FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2018 pools announced (FIBA Press Release – 23.02.2018)

Sri Lanka, not being in the first ten federations as of the cut-off date of FIBA, have been drafted in the list of the countries who will be playing in the qualifying draw which will begin on the April 27th.

Federation ranking of 3×3 as explained by FIBA on their official website is as follows,

National Federations are ranked according to the aggregate points tallied by their Top 100 nationals in the 3×3 Individual World Ranking in each category (men, women, U18 men, U18 women), who have a confirmed account.

The 3×3 Federation Ranking not only rewards the elite performances of the players but also the 3×3 activity in the territory of each National Federation. The position in the 3×3 Federation Ranking is driven by the number of players and their playing frequency. The more events are organized the more likely players will accumulate points and increase the national federation’s standing in the 3×3 Federation Ranking(×3/federations-ranking)

Sri Lanka was among the top ten federations for the 2017 edition, having hosted many 3×3 tournaments in the country and exposing its players for every tournament. As explained by FIBA, the more events that are hosted, players exposed, will in return bring back points to increase the national federation ranking. Coming in to 2018, Sri Lanka has failed to keep up the consistency in accumulating points to keep par with the rankings. spoke to the Vice-President of Sri Lanka Basketball Federation, Chandana Liyanage, on how Sri Lanka is planning to move up the rankings and step out of the downfall and he said,

We have already planned to increase the number of the tournaments played in the country. We have finalized plans to hold an U15 and an U18 tournament every six months’ time. Now we are planning on building up the same model for the U23 age group as well”.  

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There will be two slots open in Pool C and D in the main draw for the two qualifying nations to enter in both men`s and women`s category.

FIBA, explaining the selection process for the qualifying nations in their official press release states,

This is how – in the men’s category – Japan and Jordan, in Pool C, will meet the winners of Pool A in the Qualifying draw, which features 6 different teams (Sri Lanka, South Korea, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu and Thailand). The opponent of Kazakhstan and New Zealand will come from Pool B of the Qualifying Draw (Indonesia, Australia, Iran, Samoa, Guam & Hong Kong).” – FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2018 pools announced (FIBA Press Release – 23.02.2018)

In the qualifying draw Sri Lanka men`s team is placed in Pool A while the women`s team is placed in Pool B alongside Australia, Thailand and Samoa. inquired Vice-President Liyanage as to how the selection process for the championship will happen and he said,  

We have made plans to organize a tournament and select a team out of the players who perform at their best during the tournament in the month of March

Sri Lanka`s record in the 2017 edition is not the best. Having been knocked out in the group-stages, Sri Lanka would want to better themselves in 2018. Yet, it will be a tough ask with the challenge at hand. Sri Lanka first must win the qualifiers, to even enter the competition for 2018.

Read: Sri Lanka loses after a tough fight

Sri Lanka does not possess a national pool in any of the formats. The players were dispersed after the 2017 Asia Cup which was the last international 3×3 event up until the third month of 2018. If the players are to perform above par and book their slot in the main draw, it is important that they have adequate time to practice and get back to the rhythm.

3×3 in Sri Lanka gained popularity with a lot of tournaments last year and the players were in full throttle. So, if the administrators do not continue to keep up the momentum, just like another match Sri Lanka will end up on the losing side.