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'3x3 is the IPL of basketball': Tamil Nadu captain Muin Bek

Fresh off leading Tamil Nadu to the National Championships title, Indian international Muin Bek speaks about the future of the game in the country.

3x3 is the IPL of basketball: Tamil Nadu captain Muin Bek

Tamil Nadu captain Muin Bek Hafeez in action at the National Championships (Madhav Gupta)


Kevin Somani

Updated: 12 April 2022 4:34 PM GMT

Tamil Nadu capped off a winning streak at the National Basketball Championships by beating Punjab 87-69 in the final to clinch their 10th senior national title on Sunday evening in Chennai.

Tamil Nadu captain Muin Bek Hafeez, who was one of the two Indian internationals in the team alongside centre Arvind Annadurai, was elated at the team's performances throughout the tournament more than winning the title.

"Tamil Nadu have been on a streak of wins, and there have been wins with huge margins. We had the largest net point difference," the 26-year-old told The Bridge.

"We managed to maintain our streak with a lot of team effort. All the big teams like Punjab and Services lost matches, it was quite unpredictable this time," he said.

On the performance of the two Arvinds in the TN team, he said, "Bada wala Arvind (Arvind Annadurai) showed his international experience. Chota wala Arvind (Arvind Kumar) is still young, is very aggressive in our defence."

With the advent of 3x3 basketball in India, a lot of the discussion surrounding the game has been on how this new format could change the game here. Does Muin Bek agree that 3x3 will hurt the existing 5x5 ecosystem?

"No, nothing like that. If you see cricket, when the IPL came up, the quality of ODIs initially went down but then it improved more. 3x3 is the IPL of basketball, it's the faster game, 10-minute games with 21 points to score," he said.

Muin Bek is a regular for the Indian team and the most recent three-point sniper for the Men in Blue. He shone through at the Asia Cup qualifiers last year, scoring 12.7 points per game with 44% shooting from threes.

There is an expectation that players like him, Princepal Singh, Pranav Prince, and Sahaij Sekhon are the future of the national team in coming years.

"After the 2018 CWG, coach Matic came and changed the style of Indian basketball team. We didn't usually play in a system, we depend on fast breaks before."

Coach Matic had earlier said one of the main problems with teams at the National Championship was the low levels of defensive effort shown by teams - seen from the high scores.

"The game has changed overall. Players now tend to take three-pointers, even the 7-footers are taking three-pointers. Earlier it was an inside game. It's not like there's no defensive effort, look at how well Services defended against Punjab," he said.

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