MOSCOW (3×3 Challengers) – An U23 team – Gagarin (RUS) – shocked the world by beating Humpolec Bernard (CZE) (20-18) in the final of the Tinkoff Moscow Open 3×3 Challenger on May 18-19, 2018.
It was Space Jam 2.0 in Gorky Park with Team Gagarin (RUS) bouncing back from an opening loss to Novi Sad (SRB) in the pool phase to win the next 4 and put a soaked wet Russian crowd on fire.
The #15 seed upset 3 Top 20 teams in the world in the knock-out rounds, between Split Statist (CRO) in the quarter-finals, Princeton (USA) in the semi-finals and Humpolec Bernard (CZE) in the final.
Alex Antonikovskii, 23 years old. Stanislav Sharov, 22 years old. Daniil Abramovskii, 21 years old. Alexander Zuev, 21 years old. A team of kids won one of the most prestigious and loaded Challengers of the season. The youngest of them all (Zuev) was just unstoppable in Gorky Park. He finished 3rd in scoring and was named MVP of the tournament.
In the final, tournament top scorer Ondrej Siska – who was phenomenal in the semi-finals against Riga (LAT) – carried Humpolec Bernard to an early lead.
In fact, the Czechs were up almost the entire game. Gagarin took their 1st lead with 15-14 on the scoreboard. With the game tied at 16, Zuev buried a big-time step-back 2-pointer. 2014 Youth Olympic Games player Abramovskii extended the lead with a strong drive to the basket. Humpolec star Roman Zachrla’s had a chance to send the game to overtime at the buzzer but missed a desperation shot.
Both finalists stamped a ticket to the World Tour Prague Masters, which will take place on August 4-5. This will mark Gagarin’s first-ever trip to the top event of the 3×3 professional circuit. Humpolec are no stranger to the World Tour. They competed at the World Tour Final last season and had already stamped their ticket to the Utsunomiya Masters 2018 after finishing 2nd at the Wuxi Challenger earlier this season.
It wasn’t a good weekend for the Serbian teams. World Tour 2017 winners Zemun were eliminated in the pool stage and the number one 3×3 team in the world Novi Sad missed out on a World Tour ticket for the 4th time this season after losing to Riga (LAT) in the quarter-finals.
Seven of the Top 20 teams in the world and a total of 16 teams from 8 different countries played at the Tinkoff Moscow Open Challenger.
The next Challenger will take place in Chengdu, China on May 26-27.
- Gagarin (RUS)
- Humpolec Bernard (CZE)
- Princeton (USA)
- Riga (LAT)
- Novi Sad (SRB)
- Ondrej Siska (Humpolec Bernard) 37 pts
- Dan Mavraides (Princeton) 36 pts
- Alexander Zuev (Gagarin) 36 pts
- Roman Zachrla (Humpolec Bernard) 31 pts
- Nauris Miezis (Riga) 26 pts