4. Like the number of seasons that 3X3 basketball has been played in Vanuatu. Since 2017 and the Vanuatu 2017 Pacific Mini Games that featured for the first time ever 3x3 basketball in Oceania, the Vanuatu Basketball Federation has stepped up to develop the discipline within the country.
“It was the perfect timing for us to develop the discipline” Franck FRANCONIERI, the Vanuatu Basketball Federation president, acknowledges. “We had to run at least 3 tournaments within less than 3 months to be eligible to compete in the Pacific Mini-Games, while we never got to consistently organize tournament and create a real engagement for the discipline”
And after 4 successful tournaments that leaded the Women’s National team to the Bronze Medal, the first of basketball in Vanuatu on the international stage, the long-term project of settling 3x3 discipline came to a turning point with the creation of an annual tour in Port-Vila
“We started from scratch, playing outdoor but with the conviction that it would get us somewhere” Sacha DUTHU, the National Basketball Development Officer, says. “Now we have an annual 3x3 tour, featuring 9 dates. Through our local activity and our national team performances, we are first among the Pacific Island nations, just behind Australia and New-Zealand”
And not even a year later, the 83-island archipelago even got to be ranked as #50 nation to the FIBA 3x3 world ranking in 2018, and #48 on the women’s world ranking, just behind the 2019 3x3 World Cup host, the Philippines.
“You have almost 20 sports federations in Vanuatu. And the population is not very big so that you have enough participants every time to your activities. So you have to create something different, attractive, that corresponds to the players’ expectations, but also those that are eager to play basketball, but in a different way” The French native adds
The BRED Bank actually came on board from 2019, with the naming right of the competition, that features 2 categories (Elite Men and Social Mixed). This partnership, extended in 2020, means a gain of credibility for the Federation and the basketball competitions.
“The other Pacific Nations are looking up at us now, because we set up a standard for 3x3 among the Pacific island nations. We don’t as much facilities, funding or players as in other basketball powerhouse nations such as PNG, Fiji or New Caledonia, but we made better than those countries. Vanuatu’s 3x3 history has been made of hard work and commitment from everyone, the FIBA Oceania, the Federation, the players, the officials and our sponsor that supported the movement" Franck FRANCONIERI