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



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



Novi Sad Al Wahda make history after winning Lipik 3×3 Challenger

Two-time FIBA 3×3 World Tour winners Novi Sad Al Wahda (UAE) became the first team in 3×3 history to qualify to each one of the World Tour Masters after winning the loaded Cedevita Lipik 3×3 Challenger in Lipik, Croatia on June 30 and July 1 2017.

Despite missing two core players due to injury (Marko Savic and Marko Zdero), Novi Sad Al Wahda were a perfect 6-0 in Lipik.

With his team up 18-17 in the final against Liman (SRB), the number one 3×3 player in the world Dusan Domovic Bulut drove hard to the basket, drew the foul and got the acrobatic finish to fall. With Liman in the penalty, ‘Mr Bullutproof’ ice the game from the free throw line.

His team-mate Dejan Majstorovic was named MVP, just a week after being named MVP of the FIBA 3×3 World Cup 2017.

By reaching the final, both Novi Sad Al Wahda and Liman (whose star Stefan Stojacic was the top scorer in Lipik) qualified for the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Saskatoon Masters, the only one still missing for Bulut’s team.

After getting an automatic spot in 3 World Tour Masters (Debrecen, Mexico City and Prague) based on their #1 rank in the FIBA 3×3 Team Ranking at the end of last season, Novi Sad Al Wahda earned their ticket to the other 4 (Chengdu, Lausanne, Utsunomiya and now Saskatoon) by shining in challengers, these international tournaments which qualify 2 teams to the World Tour directly.

The Cedevita Lipik 3×3 Challenger was the only European-based qualifier to the Saskatoon Masters. As a result, 13 of the 15 top teams in the FIBA 3×3 Team Ranking traveled to Croatia for the event!

Photo: FOTOimago