Wizz Air Sport Arena Streetball, the main 3x3 basketball championship in Romania, started last weekend in Bucharest, with over 170 teams and more than 700 players ready to take off from the streets to the Olympics.
It was a stormy start to the ninth season of the programme, with the windy and rainy weather playing hide-and-seek with the organisers, but in the end basketball was the big winner and everybody celebrated the return of 3x3 basketball, after almost seven months.
The four Sport Arena Courts at the University of Politehnica Bucharest were packed with people from the early morning hours, when kids playing in the U14 categories hit the court, closely watched and cheered-on by their parents, until late at night, when the elite teams put up a big show.
Being part of the qualifying system of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour, Wizz Air Sport Arena Streetball gathered some of the best 3x3 players from Romania - two of whom who were present last year in Miami for the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final: Catalin Vlaicu and Sergiu Souca.
It was the start of a journey which could end this year in Istanbul, host of the 2013 FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final.
Sport Arena Streetball opening the 3x3 season in Bucharest
"Sport Arena Streetball created a real phenomenon here in Romania in the past nine years and now these guys are world famous for what they do. Romanian players proved last year that they can be successful on the basketball court and I really hope that also in 2013 the Romanian teams will perform well internationally," commented former national team captain Virgil Stanescu.
More than 3,000 people watched the games during the three-day competition, enjoying every moment. It was not only about basketball games, with skills contests, three-point shootouts, non-stop music and special side-events completing the picture of a perfect weekend.
With the first tournament in the books, Sport Arena Streetball are now preparing for the biggest 3x3 event that Romania ever hosted with the second tournament of Wizz Air Sport Arena Streetball also doubling as part of the FIBA Europe 3x3 EuroTour with special guests from FIBA and the IOC.
The first 3x3 EuroTour stop will be staged on 21-23 June, in front of the Palace of Parliament, the largest civilian building in the world.