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



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.



No stopping Riga at Nanjing 3×3 Challenger

NANJING – Riga (LAT) won the Nanjing 3×3 Challenger after defeating Moscow Inanomo (RUS) in the final in Nanjing, China on April 21-22, 2018.

Riga had a perfect run in the old capital of China, winning all 5 games before the 10-minute limit, by an average of more than 8 points.

Their campaign ended the same it started: with a convincing win (21-12 in the final) against Moscow Inanomo, who went all the way from the qualifying draw to the final, with wins against the number 13 (Ulaanbaatar, MGL) and the number 1 team in the world (Novi Sad, SRB).

Both Riga stars Karlis Lasmanis and Nauris Miezis scored 28 points in 5 games but it was the latter, who was voted MVP of the tournament.

Riga confirmed their outstanding start in 2018: with the exception of the Goyang Challenger last week (where they finished 4th), they won 5 titles in 5 tournaments so far this year.

Last season Riga won 3 Challengers but have yet to reach the title game of a World Tour event.

The Nanjing 3×3 Challenger is a direct qualifier to the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Chengdu Masters. The Latvian team however already had secured a spot in China thanks to their FIBA 3×3 Team Ranking. One good reason to come to Nanjing though: they took home 10,000 USD in prize money.

The fact Riga had already qualified means both Moscow Inanomo and third-place Ulaanbaatar will join them in Chengdu on September 29-30, 2018.

Both teams are relatively new on the professional circuit. Moscow will make their World Tour debut this year while Ulaanbaatar celebrated their only previous World Tour appearance with a semi-final finish at the Utsunomiya Masters last year.

The 4 Ulaanbaatar players now switch their attention to national team 3×3 basketball. They will try to defend Mongolia’s title at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup in Shenzhen, China on April 27-May 1.

A total of 16 teams from 9 different countries played in Nanjing, including 6 of the Top 20 teams in the world: Novi Sad (SRB, #1), Piran (SLO, #4), Riga (LAT, #6), Ulaanbaatar (MGL, #13), Humpolec Bernard (#CZE, 16) and Split Statist (CRO, #18).

Final standings

  1. Riga (LAT)
  2. Moscow Inanomo (RUS)
  3. Ulaanbaatar (MGL)
  4. Split Statist (CRO)
  5. Novi Sad (SRB)