The sixth leg of the Burger King 3X3 Quest Basketball Tour will be hosted in Tauranga this Saturday at the Blake Park Tennis Courts, Mt Maunganui.

General Manager of the Tauranga City Basketball Association (TCBA), Mark Rogers, says basketball participation continues to grow considerably as basketball becomes increasingly popular and more accessible.

"For the second year running Tauranga City Basketball has been running a summer series of 3x3 events over December and January. Numbers at the events have grown by almost 100%, so interest in the 3x3 game is definitely growing. We are also planning a twilight 3x3 series over February, which is a new initiative this year that will give players even more opportunity to step on court," says Rogers.

"It is great to have the National 3x3 tour back in Tauranga on Saturday. The opportunity to be part of a national programme with the chance to qualify for an international event for the men is very exciting. The past few tour events in Tauranga have had a great turn out and we are hoping everyone gets out and supports the tour."

The 3x3 format (pronounced 3 on 3) is the street form of basketball, played with three people per side, with one hoop. Basketball New Zealands 3x3 Manager, David Huxford, says this summer season is the fourth time the Burger King Quest Tour has travelled to provinces throughout New Zealand. He says eight informal one-hoop courts are set up at each venue, they add music, create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and provide a competition where there is a grade that suits all levels.

"The Tour is for anyone who wants to play, male and female, from the junior player through to the elite. Our New Zealand representatives play in the open mens grade events."

The Tour has official Quest status, which means that the winner of the Open Mens grade at each event will compete at the World Tour Qualifier Final on 25 March for the right to represent their city at a World Tour Masters in Asia.

"The final stop of the tour is the World Tour Qualifier at The Cloud, so whoever wins that will win an all-expenses paid trip to Asia and compete at the World Tour Masters," says Huxford.

FIBA rules state that international players who compete in World Championships or the World Tour must have played in at least two FIBA endorsed events and accumulate points on 3x3Planet, FIBAs portal for 3x3 events.

"The Burger King 3x3 Quest Tour gives players a great opportunity to be spotted by the national 3x3 talent selector. In 2017, Basketball New Zealand will be sending five teams overseas to play in FIBA 3x3 events, so were looking for some really talented players to sign up. And who knows, maybe theres a few future Olympians in the bunch - one of the most exciting events this year will be the announcement in June by the IOC as to whether or not 3x3 will be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Weve been directing our 3x3 programme towards this, so were waiting for the announcement with baited breath."

Building on three successful tours over previous summers, the Burger King 3X3 Quest Tour began on 26 November 2016 and runs through to 25 March at the final event at The Cloud in Auckland. The event is open to under 15, under 17, under 19, and Open age-groups in both mens and womens categories.

Huxford says players must be registered on 3x3Planet.com to enter.

"On 3x3Planet, players can enter events, track their results and compare their FIBA ranking to their friends and other 3X3 players internationally. Its extremely important that all players have an official 3x3Planet.com profile when they play in the Tour. Creating a profile is easy and only takes about three minutes. Once theyve created their 3x3Planet account all they need to do is respond to the confirmation email and theyre ready to play."

Burger King Quest 3X3 Tour Schedule:

DATE LOCATION VENUE

Sat 26 Nov 2016 Whangarei Whangarei Netball Courts

Sat 03 Dec 2016 New Plymouth Waiwhakaiho Netball Courts

Sat 10 Dec 2016 North Shore (Auckland) Westlake Girls High School (covered netball courts)

Sat 17 Dec 2016 Rotorua The Energy Events Centre (carpark)

Sat 14 Jan 2017 Mangere (Auckland) Otahuhu Netball Centre, David Lange Park.

Sat 21 Jan 2017 Tauranga Blake Park Tennis Courts, Mt Maunganui

Sat 28 Jan 2017 Henderson (Auckland) Trusts Arena (indoors)

Sat 11 Feb 2017 Nelson Tahunanui Beach Tennis Courts

Sat 18 Feb 2017 Christchurch Hagley Park Netball Courts

Sat 25 Feb 2017 Invercargill Invercargill Netball Centre, Surrey Park Road

Sun 26 Feb 2017 Dunedin The Octagon

Sat 05 Mar 2017 Palmerston North Waldegrave Street carpark

Sat 11 Mar 2017 Wellington Odlins Plaza Wellington Waterfront

Sat 18 Mar 2017 Hamilton Garden Place Hamilton

Sat 25 Mar 2017 Auckland Central- The Cloud, 89 Quay Street, Auckland

- This event will be both a normal Burger King 3x3 Quest Tour event (minus Open men's grade) plus the World Tour Qualifier Final for eligible Open Men's teams from throughout New Zealand.

More information:

www.basketball.org.nz/3X3
3x3Planet.com
- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Basketball New Zealand