Ochiai brings upgraded team to FIBA 3x3 World Tour Beijing Masters
UTSUNOMIYA (2015 FIBA 3x3 World Tour) - Tomoya 'Worm' Ochiai will make his fourth appearance in four FIBA 3x3 World Tour editions at the 2015 Beijing Masters after winning a World Tour Qualifier in Utsunomiya, just 100km north of Tokyo, Japan on 12 July 2015.
The lefty Ochiai becomes just the third player to make it 4/4 at the World Tour after Fernando Gutierrez (Montevideo, URU) and Carlos Silva Jr (Rio de Janeiro, BRA). The Japanese rebounding machine made his debuts at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour in Vladivostok, in the second-ever FIBA 3x3 World Tour event on 21 July 2012 (finishing 10th with Team Tokyo), led Team Nagoya to 2nd place at the Tokyo Masters the following year and brought Team Yokohama to 3rd place at the Beijing Masters last year.
The 28-year-old nicknamed 'Worm' as a tribute to youth idol Dennis Rodman has been unstoppable on 3x3 Japanese scene this year. His Greedydog.EXE squad has won every single one of the first four stages of the 3x3. EXE Premier League, organised by private promoter Xebio in the country. The fourth stage held in Utsunomiya was a direct qualifier to the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Beijing Masters.
Two of Ochiai's team-mates have also played at the World Tour in the past (but on different teams). The Utsunomiya event MVP Chihiro Ikeda starred for Team Kawasaki, who ended 3rd at the 2013 Tokyo Masters and Josei Maniwai featured on Team Fukushima at the 2012 Vladivostok Masters.
The team that qualified this weekend also included Koji Nagata. Up to two changes can be made on the team which will play at the Beijing Masters however the substitute players must be eligible meaning they must have played at least two FIBA-endorsed events at the time of qualification.
Ochiai's team is known as 'Greedydog.EXE' in the 3x3. EXE Premier League. The league includes eight teams which face off eight times during the summer in sudden-death quarter finals brackets, with the final taking place in Tokyo on 13 September. Greedydog.EXE won with authority in Utsunomiya, beating Chiba Jets.EXE 18-14, DIME.EXE 20-13 and TryHoop Okayama.EXE 17-10 in the final.
The FIBA 3x3 World Tour Beijing Masters is staged on 15-16 August. Ochiai's team is the 7th team to qualify for the event, which will also include 2013 winners Team Ljubljana and reigning champions Team Novi Sad Al Wahda.