Belgium qualify for play-ins of 3x3 basketball World Cup
Belgium have qualified for the play-ins of the Basketball 3x3 World Cup in Vienna. After losing to Poland on Thursday morning, Belgium beat Puerto Rico 21-18, which saw them finish third in Pool C.
Belgium's Lions will face the second-best team in Pool B for a place in the quarter-finals. The US lead that group after two games, ahead of Austria, Latvia, Australia and Slovenia. The remaining matches in Pool B will be played on Friday.
A World Cup medal in Vienna guarantees a ticket to the Olympic qualifying tournament for Paris 2024. Last year, Belgium finished fourth at the World Cup in Antwerp, having also finished fourth at the previous Olympics in Tokyo.
Before the start of the World Cup, Basketball Belgium announced that veteran Nick Celis would not be part of the Belgian team. Celis, the second-best Belgian player according to the 3x3 rankings, is named in an investigation into possible fraud. In 2021, De Standaard revealed that fictitious tournaments had been created to gather points and qualify for the 2021 Olympics.
"Three players named in an investigation file following possible fraud concerning fictitious tournaments in the 3x3 men's team will not be selected for the time being, pending conclusions in the various proceedings currently under way," the federation said at the time.
Belgium's Thibaut Vervoort at last year's 3x3 World Cup in Antwerp © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM