8 May 2023
EILAT (Israel) - After an intense two days with everything on the line, six teams kept their dreams alive by winning the final tickets to the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023 on May 30-June 4.
Let's have a look at the main takeaways after an unforgettable event on May 6-7 at the pretty port town of Eilat, fast becoming a favorite 3x3 destination.
The hosts with the most
On home soil with their loud and passionate fans in the stands, there was a lot of pressure on Israel's teams to deliver and book tickets to Vienna.
They didn't disappoint with the men's team beating formidable Hungary and New Zealand in close games before an easy victory over Asian power China.
Their stars were spectacular with high-flyer Netanel Artzi in attack mode, especially against Hungary when he scored 8 points and stuffed the poor rim, while 20-year-old Shoham Gat tapped into his deep bag against China with a game-high 11 points.
They are two of the brightest young stars in 3x3 and we can't wait to see them on the big stage of the World Cup.
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Israel's women had a tougher path after losses to Colombia and Australia put them in danger of missing out.
It all came down to the final game against Colombia in a rematch and Israel were on the brink trailing 18-20. But star Hadar Hadad was colder than ice with a two then Alexandra Cohen became the hero as Israel claimed the last ticket to Vienna.
After showing so much pride, Israel might just be able to cause some damage at the World Cup.
Australia's all-conquering charge continues
After their dazzling run in Singapore to claim the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup 2023 title, Australia's women were expected to dominate in Eilat.
They lived up to the hype with Australia easily defeating Madagascar and Israel but were tested against Czech Republic.
The team was slightly different from their rampaging side that blitzed through Singapore, but Marena Whittle and Alex Wilson were back and continued to terrorize opponents on the court.
They totally overwhelmed Israel with 19 points combined to prove why they are legit stars.
Miela Goodchild and Keely Froling were also solid contributors to underline Australia's depth of talent and they absolutely appear contenders in Vienna.
Congratulations to team Australia for qualifying for the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 🇦🇺🎉👏#3X3WC | @3x3Hustle pic.twitter.com/xByYIutjBf— FIBA3x3 (@FIBA3x3) May 7, 2023
Hirschmann was in heater mode
Probably the most dominant player in Eilat was Adrian Hirschmann, who drained an insane 34 points in 3 games to power Slovenia into the World Cup.
He was in heat check mode over the two days as Hirschmann splashed from all over the half-court to be dripping wet after his trio of heroic performances.
We've seen the 23-year-old's talent at the FIBA 3x3 Nations League 2022, but he's ready to tackle the absolute best in the world in Vienna.
Hungary have a deadly duo
Hungary were the last men's team to make it through after beating highly-rated China in an epic.
They did it largely through big fellas Tamas Ivosev and Attila Demeter, who combined for 14 points and did enough to get over the line against China's athletic marvels.
With the last World Cup spot up for grabs, the teams went shot for shot and it went down to the wire.
Demeter showed off his range with a two-piece to get Slovenia close before Ivosev, a key part of the legendary Novi Sad team on the World Tour, used all his experience to hit the buzzer beater and send his team to Vienna.
Hungary will fancy their chances of making some noise with their two big men flexing on opponents.
Congratulations to team Hungary for qualifying for the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 🇭🇺🎉👏#3X3WC pic.twitter.com/4HybH0PhvL— FIBA3x3 (@FIBA3x3) May 7, 2023
Katerina Galickova's star is on the rise
Czech Republic lived up to their billing as the top seeds to make it through largely thanks to a breakout performance from 23-year-old Katerina Galickova.
We've seen her before at youth level and on the FIBA 3x3 Women's Series, but the 6ft (1.83m) talented Czech went up a level with a scoring explosion in Eilat where she finished with 27 points in 3 games.
She scored from everywhere - inside and out - with only the long-armed Aussies able to somewhat extinguish this flamethrower.
Keep this scoring binge up in Vienna and Katerina Galickova will be a global 3x3 star.
Congratulations to team Czech Republic for qualifying for the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 🇨🇿🎉👏#3x3WC pic.twitter.com/QRuPqPo0Xb— FIBA3x3 (@FIBA3x3) May 7, 2023