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New kids on the block Team Gagarin win Tinkoff Moscow Open 3×3 Challenger

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.

Final Standings:

  1. Gagarin (RUS)
  2. Humpolec Bernard (CZE)
  3. Princeton (USA)
  4. Riga (LAT)
  5. Novi Sad (SRB)

Top Scorers:

  1. Ondrej Siska (Humpolec Bernard) 37 pts
  2. Dan Mavraides (Princeton) 36 pts
  3. Alexander Zuev (Gagarin) 36 pts
  4. Roman Zachrla (Humpolec Bernard) 31 pts
  5. Nauris Miezis (Riga) 26 pts

Source: www.fiba.basketball
Photo: www.fiba.basketball

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Piran confirm impressive early season form with Sydney 3×3 Challenger title

SYDNEY (3×3 Challengers) – Piran (SLO) became the first team to win 2 Challengers this season after defeating Melbourne i-Athletic (AUS) (22-9) in the final of the Sydney Challenger on May 18-19, 2018.

For the first-ever Challenger held in Australia, Basketball Australia and the NBL offered one of the most iconic backdrops in 3×3 history with the Sydney Opera House on the horizon.

The number 4 team in the world Piran was apparently inspired as it delivered a 5-0 masterpiece over the 2 days of competition.

The Slovenian team picked things up where it left off just 2 weeks after winning the Penang Challenger in Malaysia: they’ve now won 10 games in a row.

It didn’t seem to matter that Piran were missing their leader Gasper Ovnik in Australia (replaced by 3×3 pro circuit rookie Ziga Erculj). 26-year-old Anze Srebovt took over with a top-scoring 42 points and ‘the Sphinx’ Simon Finzgar finished 3rd in scoring with 33 points.

Piran won every game before the limit except a 18-16 thriller against Amsterdam Inoxdeals (NED) in the semi-finals.

This means the Slovenian team now has secured 4 tickets to the World Tour this season (Mexico City and Prague based on ranking plus India and Utsunomiya via Challengers).

The other finalists Melbourne i-Athletic on the other hand will compete at their first-ever World Tour event in Utsunomiya, Japan on July 28-29. In fact they will become the first Australian team to make it to the World Tour since the inaugural edition back in 2012.

The Australian team had a heroic performance on the second day of competition in Sydney. Down just 3 players, with no subs, they won back-to-back nail-biters against Lausanne (SUI) in the quarter-finals and Adjuntas (PUR) in the semi-finals. Completely exhausted, they did come back to earth in the final against the dominant Piran.

Melbourne i-Athletic are the pro version of the Australian national team, which won gold at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2018.

We now know half of the 14 teams who will play at the Utsunomiya Masters with Ljubljana (SLO), Zemun (SRB) (based on ranking), Auckland (NZL) (3×3 New Zealand Quest Tour winners), Liman (SRB), Humpolec Bernard (CZE) (Wuxi Challenger finalists), Piran (SLO) and Melbourne i-Athletic (AUS).

Five of the Top 15 teams in the world and a total of 16 teams from 10 different countries played at the Sydney Challenger.

The next Challenger will take place in Chengdu, China on May 26-27.

Final Standings:

  1. Piran (SLO)
  2. Melbourne i-Athletic (AUS)
  3. Amsterdam Inoxdeals (NED)
  4. Adjuntas (PUR)
  5. Belgrade (SRB)

Top Scorers:

  1. Anze Srebovt (Piran) 42 pts
  2. Thomas Garlepp (Melbourne i-Athletic) 34 pts
  3. Simon Finzgar (Piran) 33 pts
  4. Andrew Steel (Melbourne i-Athletic) 28 pts
  5. Dimeo Van der Horst (Amsterdam Inoxdeals) 26 pts

Source: www.fiba.basketball
Photo: www.fiba.basketball

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Tinkoff Moscow Open Preview: More than a Challenger

MOSCOW (3×3 Challengers) – The Tinkoff Moscow Open will bring together some of the best 3×3 teams in the Russian capital on May 18-19.

Four teams from the Top 10 and 3 more from the Top 20 will compete in the iconic Gorky Park.

2017 winners Riga (LAT) are back in Moscow and will play Split (CRO) and a Qualifying Draw winner in Pool C.

The number one FIBA 3×3 team in the World, Novi Sad (SRB), will try to win their first tournament of the season coming from Pool A, with Bordeaux Ballistik (FRA) and Gagarin (RUS).

Pool B will be another treat with World Tour 2017 winners Zemun (SRB) and Princeton (USA). Mavraides and company just won their first Challenger of their career last weekend in Huaian. They are joined by Moskva (RUS).

Vitez Ecos Romari (BIH) and Humpolec Bernard (CZE) will be joined by the other Qualifying Draw winners in Pool D.

The two best teams at the Tinkoff Moscow Open qualify to the Prague Masters on August 4-5, 2018.

Two teams have already earned a trip to Czech Republic: Liman (SRB) and Piran (SLO) (based on ranking).

The 16 participating teams will also compete for 20,000 USD in prize money.

Source: www.fiba.basketball
Photo: www.fiba.basketball

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Sydney Challenger Preview: First-ever Challenger in Australia

SYDNEY (3×3 Challenger) – Australia hosts its first-ever 3×3 challenger at the Sydney Challenger on May 18-19.

Piran (SLO) will be one of the main attractions of the event after winning the Penang Challenger in Malaysia 2 weeks ago. The number 4 team in the World will try to stamp their ticket to their 4th World Tour Masters of the season as they are already qualified to Prague, Mexico and India.

The Sydney Challenger qualifies to Utsunomiya, where they reached the final the last two years, losing both games against Novi Sad (SRB). They are in the pool A alongside Sutherland (AUS) and Adjuntas, from Puerto Rico.

But it won’t be a walk in the park for Piran. Five teams in the Top 20 will also compete in Sydney. The new-look Kranj (SLO) is in Pool B. The #7 team in the World will be in good company with Melbourne i-Athletic (AUS) and Auckland (NZL), a team that has already clinched their spot to the Utsunomiya Masters after winning the New Zealand Quest.

Tokyo (JPN) and Belgrade (SRB) are in Pool C and they will find out who is the third team in their pool after the Qualifyng Draw. Same for Amsterdam Inoxdeals (NED) and Lausanne (SUI) in Pool D.

Five teams have already secured their tickets to Japan: Zemun (SRB) and Ljubljana (SLO) earned their spots through the ranking, Liman (SRB) and Humpolec Bernard (CZE) after the Wuxi Challenger and Auckland (NZL) after winning the New Zealand Quest. If Auckland reach the final, then the next team in the standings will qualify to Utsunomiya.

The 16 participating teams will also compete for 20,000 USD in prize money.

Source: www.fiba.basketball
Photo: www.fiba.basketball

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Princeton win Huaian 3×3 Challenger

HUAIAN (3×3 Challenger) – Princeton (USA) won the Huaian 3×3 Challenger after edging out Liman (SRB) 21-19 in the final in Huaian, China on May 12-13, 2018.

After splitting games on Day 1 (including a 17-16 loss against Liman), the US national champs went off in the knock-out rounds. They beat three Top 8 teams in a row, including the #1 squad in the world in the semi-finals (Novi Sad) and the #2 in the final (Liman).

The title game was a nail-biter. No team would ever take a 4-point lead. With Princeton up 20-19, it was fitting that the 6ft 8in (2.04m) Kareem Maddox took his responsibilities, drove to the basket, drew a foul and finished the game from the line.

The 28-year-old 3×3 rookie was a joint top scorer in Huaian (tied with Liman’s Stefan Stojacic) and took home the MVP trophy.

It was Princeton’s first-ever title on the 3×3 pro circuit. With this win, they not only put 10,000 USD in the bag but also secured a ticket to the Kuala Lumpur Masters, their 3rd World Tour spot already this season (after qualifying to the Mexico City and Saskatoon Masters).

Despite losing in the final, Liman achieved their goal of qualifying for their 4th Masters this year (Chengdu, Kuala Lumpur, Prague and Utsunomiya).

The early season struggles continued for former World Tour winners Novi Sad (SRB) – finished 3rd and failed to secure an extra World tour ticket for the 3rd time in a row – and Ljubljana (SLO), who didn’t even make it out of the pools.

On the bright side, Moscow Inanomo (RUS) continued to impress, making it from the qualifying draw to the knock-out rounds for the 3rd time in a row (2nd in Nanjing, 5th in Wuxi and 6th in Huaian). The young Ljubljana East team (SLO) achieved their best result ever on the pro circuit with a surprise 4th place finish.

There will be 2 more challengers this weekend (May 19-20) with the Moscow Open Challenger in Russia and the Sydney Challenger in Australia.

Interestingly, 5 different teams have won the first 5 Challengers of the season (Saskatoon (CAN), Riga (LAT), Piran (SLO), Liman (SRB) and Princeton (USA)).

Final Standings:

  1. Princeton (USA)
  2. Liman (SRB)
  3. Novi Sad (SRB)
  4. Ljubljana East (SLO)
  5. Belgrade (SRB)

Top Scorers:

  1. Kareem Maddox (Princeton) 39 pts, Stefan Stojacic (Liman) 39 pts
  2. Dusan Bulut (Novi Sad) 34 pts
  3. Milojko Vasilic (Ljubljana East) 26 pts
  4. Dejan Majstorovic (Novi Sad) 25 pts

Source: www.fiba.basketball
Photo: www.fiba.basketball

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Huaian 3×3 Challenger Preview: Third time lucky for Novi Sad?

HUAIAN (3×3 Challenger) – After missing out on a World Tour ticket at the Nanjing and Wuxi Challengers, the number one 3×3 team in the world Novi Sad (SRB) will look to win their first title of the season against some of their biggest rivals at the Huaian 3×3 Challenger in China on May 12-13, 2018.

The beginning of the season couldn’t have been more irritating for the 2-time World Tour winners (2014, 2015). On Dusan Bulut’s official website, the number one 3×3 player in the world Dejan Majstorovic explains:

“We didn’t start the season the way we wanted, we are still searching our game. I have to admit that we also didn’t have luck. In Nanjing, Moscow scored 8 shots from outside the arc, out of which 3 were off the backboard. The same thing happened to us at the Wuxi Challenger, in the semi-finals against Humpolec, where they score another 2-pointer off the backboard while we were up 20-19.”

For his teammate Bulut, things are crystal clear: “Only victory. We won’t be satisfied with anything less in Huaian.”

Last year, for the first edition of the Huaian 3×3 Challenger, Novi Sad came close to victory but lost a close final against Zemun (SRB). This season, Zemun will not compete in Eastern China but 3 other teams in the Top 8 will be there.

It starts with Liman (SRB) who have now topped Zemun to rank 2nd overall in the FIBA 3×3 Team Ranking and are fresh off a big win at the Wuxi Challenger last week.

Two-time World Tour winners (2013, 2016) Ljubljana (SLO) have slipped to 6th overall in the rankings but showed good things at the Penang Challenger (4th).

Last but not least, Belgrade (SRB, 8th) proved they could beat anyone at the GoYang Challenger earlier this year (they defeated the eventual winners Saskatoon (CAN) in the pool phase).

Two more Top 20 teams (Ulaanbaatar, MGL, 13th and Ljubljana East, SLO, 20th) will play in Huaian.

On top of that, 2 other Top 30 teams will be in attendance, with the red-hot Moscow Inanomo (RUS, 21st) who finished 2nd in Nanjing and 5th in Wuxi and the US National Champions, Team Princeton (USA, 26th), featuring 3×3 star Dan Mavraides and former NBA player Robbie Hummel.

The two best teams at the Huaian Challenger qualify to the Kuala Lumpur Masters on October 13-14, 2018.

Two teams have already earned a trip to Malaysia: Zemun (SRB) and Kranj (SLO) (based on ranking).

The 16 participating teams from 6 different countries will also compete for 20,000 USD in prize money.

Source: www.fiba.basketball
Photo: www.fiba.basketball

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Piran win Penang 3×3 Challenger

PENANG (3×3 Challenger) – Piran (SLO) won the Penang 3×3 Challenger after defeating Gdansk Energa 3×3 (POL) in the final 21-9 in Penang, Malaysia on May 5-6, 2018.

Piran was unstoppable in Malaysia, with a perfect 5-0 record. Not even Gdansk and the tournament top scorer Michael Hicks (45 points in 5 games) could outplay the seasoned Slovenian team. The final game was just over 6 minutes.

Anze Srebovt (Piran) was named MVP of the tournament as he led scoring for Piran with 31 points.

The Penang 3×3 Challenger is a direct qualifier to the FIBA 3×3 World Tour India Masters. The Slovenian team has now qualified to three masters. They earned tickets to the World Tour Prague Masters and Mexico City Masters based on ranking. It’s early May and Piran has already secured the same amount of Masters that they played in 2017.

Gdansk also earned a spot to World Tour India with their 2nd place finish after an epic win against World Tour reigning champs Zemun (SRB) in the semi-finals.

Piran will play next at the Sydney Challenger on May 19-20 and the Ulaanbaatar Challenger on June 2-3 2018.

Final Standings:

  1. Piran (SLO)
  2. Gdansk (POL)
  3. Zemun (SRB)
  4. Ljubljana (SLO)
  5. Domžale (SLO)

Top Scorers:

  1. Michael Hicks (Gdansk) 45 pts
  2. Anze Srebovt (Piran) 31 pts
  3. Bogoljub Devrnja (Yokohama City) 30 pts
  4. Jasmin Hercegovac (Ljubljana) 27 pts
  5. Simon Finzgar (Piran) 26 pts, Gasper Ovnik (Piran) 26 pts

Source: www.fiba.basketball
Photo: www.fiba.basketball

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Liman open season with Wuxi 3×3 Challenger win

WUXI (3×3 Challenger) – Liman (SRB) won the Wuxi 3×3 Challenger after beating Humpolec Bernard (CZE) 22-14 in the final in Wuxi, China on May 5-6, 2018.

For their first appearance on the pro circuit this year, Liman were impressive, ending up with a clean 5-0 record, with 4 of these wins coming before the limit. Last year’s World Tour regular season MVP Stefan Stojacic picked up where he left off: the 29-year-old led all scorers in Wuxi with 38 points.

In the final, Liman jumped off to a 9-1 win on a Stojacic long bomb. Humpolec crawled back in the game and made it a 3-possession game (11-16) with 2 minutes to go. But the Serbs continued to fire from behind the arc and Stojacic swished one last 2-pointer for the win.

With this win, Liman qualify for the Utsunomiya Masters, their 3rd World Tour event for the season already. Based on ranking, they already earned a ticket to the Chengdu and Prague Masters.

Humpolec may have lost the final but they had reasons to celebrate. Coming to China as the 16th team in the world, they upset the number 1 team overall and 2-time World Tour winners Novi Sad (SRB) in the semi-finals in a 21-20 thriller. They stamped their ticket to the Utsunomiya Masters (their first guaranteed World Tour event this year) and moved up to the 12th spot in the FIBA 3×3 Team Ranking after the event. Oh and their star player Roman Zachrla took home the MVP trophy!

Next challenger this weekend in Huaian, China (May 12-13) with Liman, Novi Sad, Ljubljana (SLO) and Belgrade (SRB) – in other words, 4 of the top 8 teams in the world.

Final Standings:

  1. Liman (SRB)
  2. Humpolec Bernard (CZE)
  3. Novi Sad (SRB)
  4. Khovd (MGL)
  5. Moscow Inanomo (RUS)

Top Scorers:

  1. Stefan Stojacic (Liman) 38 pts
  2. Dusan Bulut (Novi Sad) 34 pts
  3. Stefan Kojic (Liman) 32 pts
  4. Dejan Majstorovic (Novi Sad) 29 pts
  5. Roman Zachrla (Humpolec) 29 pts

Source: www.fiba.basketball
Photo: www.fiba.basketball

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Penang Challenger preview: Can World Tour winners Zemun win their first title of the season?

PENANG (3×3 Challenger) – The reigning FIBA 3×3 World Tour winners, Zemun (SRB), are looking to win their first title of the season at the Penang Challenger in Malaysia on May 5-6, 2018.

Zemun, who are missing the MVP of the 2017 Final Bogdan Dragovic due to injury, get a second chance this year after falling in the final of the Goyang Challenger against Saskatoon one month ago.

They have already clinched their ticket to 4 Masters this season: Kuala Lumpur, Lausanne, Saskatoon and Utsunomiya.

Penang will be one of the most competitive challengers of the season with 4 Top 10 teams, which all reached the World Tour Final last year: Zemun (SRB, 3rd), Piran (SLO, 4th), 2-time FIBA 3×3 World Tour winners Ljubljana (SLO, 5th) and Gdansk Energa (POL, 10th). Add to that 2 more Top 20 teams in Split Statist (CRO, 15th) and Yokohama City (JPN, 19th). In total, 16 teams from 10 different countries will compete in Malaysia.

Team Jakarta, from Indonesia, will make a much-awaited return to the professional circuit, after reaching the World Tour Final in 2013 (10th) and 2014 (7th). Their last appearance at the World Tour was at the Beijing Masters 2015 (12th).

The two best teams from the Penang Challenger get a chance to qualify for the World Tour Masters in India. They will also compete for 20,000 USD in prize money.

Three teams have already qualified for the India Masters: Novi Sad (SRB) and Belgrade (SRB) based on ranking and Ponce (PUR) after winning the BSN N3XT 3×3 League in Puerto Rico.

The event will be livestreamed on FIBA 3×3’s official YouTube Channel.

Source: www.fiba.basketball
Photo: www.fiba.basketball

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Wuxi Challenger preview: Serbian clash in China?

Wuxi (3×3 Challenger) – Novi Sad (SRB) and Liman (SRB) are the two main attractions at the Wuxi Challenger on May 5-6, 2018.

The 2 teams have won 5 of the 7 World Tour Masters last year and faced off in some of the most epic games in 3×3 history.

Novi Sad, 2-time World Tour winners, will be looking to win their first title of the season after falling in the quarter-finals of the Nanjing Challenger against Moscow Inanomo. Caution: the Russian squad will also compete in Wuxi this weekend.

But there are more reasons to think a Serbian clash in the final is not a guarantee: 3 more Top 20 teams will compete in China this weekend. Ulaanbaatar (MGL, 12th), will feature the 4 players won silver for Mongolia at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup this week. Humpolec Bernard (CZE, 16th) bring a new-look team, compared to the squad that beat Riga in the pool stage of the World Tour Final last year. Last but not least, Ljubljana East (SLO, 20th) make their 2018 pro debut with 3 of the 4 players who went 20-0 for Slovenia at the FIBA 3×3 U23 Nations League last season.

The two best teams at the Wuxi Challenger qualify to the Utsunomiya Masters on 28-29 July, 2018.

Three teams have already earned a trip to Japan: Zemun (SRB) and Ljubljana (SLO) (based on ranking) and Auckland (NZL).

The 16 participating teams from 7 countries will also compete for 20,000 USD in prize money.

Source: www.fiba.basketball
Photo: www.fiba.basketball