June 23 (Reuters) - Five 3x3 basketball players to watch out for at the Tokyo Olympics:
DUSAN DOMOVIC BULUT (SERBIA)
Known as “Mr. Bulletproof,” the 6’3” Serbian is the top-ranked 3x3 player in the world. Bulut has helped Serbia claim four of the six FIBA 3x3 World Cups that have been held in the sport’s short history.
The only prize the 35-year-old has left to claim in the sport is an Olympic medal.
TOMOYA OCHIAI (JAPAN)
Ochiai led his team to a fourth place finish at the 3x3 Lipik Challenger tournament in Croatia last month, including an upset victory over a top-seeded Serbian squad. Nicknamed “The Worm” like his NBA idol Dennis Rodman, 33-year-old Ochiai prides himself on aggressive defence and rebounding.
Ochiai, 6’5”, is the top-ranked player from host nation Japan, where he plays pro ball for the Koshigaya Alphas.
NAURIS MIEZIS (LATVIA)
The world’s No. 2 in men’s 3x3 rankings, Miezis was named MVP of a qualifier in Austria last month that gave Latvia the last berth at the Olympics.
Nicknamed the “Robin” to towering team mate Karlis Lasmanis’s “Batman,” Miezis has come into his own as a player and the duo have made Latvia a top-ranked team. The 6’3” 30-year-old is also a three-time MVP on the 3x3’s World Tour.
MIGNA TOURE (FRANCE)
Toure, 26, was named the MVP of the 2019 Women’s Series, and is currently ranked No. 2 in the world behind French team mate Laeitia Guapo. Toure plays pro ball in Europe and is known for fleet footwork on drives that end with a left-handed layup.
RAE LIN D’ALIE (ITALY)
D’Alie hit the game-winning shot at a qualifier in Debrecen, Hungary to give the Italian women’s team the final Olympic slot, earning her the tournament’s MVP award.
The 5’4” speedster, known as “Rae Rae”, is an artist with no-look passes and a threat at the two-point line. (Reporting by Rocky Swift in Tokyo; Editing by Peter Rutherford )