NOVI SAD (Serbia) – World No.1 Novi Sad (SRB) once again emerged victorious but were pushed all the way by an impressive NY Harlem (USA) at the inaugural Novi Sad Challenger on May 24-25, 2019.
After a shock semi-final exit at the Doha Masters last month, Novi Sad are back to their best with Challenger wins in Penang and at home.
With the world’s #1 player Dusan Bulut back in the fold, Novi Sad cruised to victories in the pool stage before raising their game when it mattered most. They gave Zemun a 21-8 beat down in the semi-finals through hot shooting and then prevailed 21-17 over NY Harlem in a thrilling decider in the mecca of 3×3.
Novi Sad are loaded with star players. Everyone contributes. That’s why they are the best in the world. Dejan Majstorovic, the MVP in Penang, continued his hot form and was equal-second highest scorer of the tournament with 35 points.
The crowd was louder than at your grandma’s hoover, but the Americans were not daunted. Disco Domo put the defenders in a spin cycle as he relentlessly drove to the rim in a tight start.
Novi Sad started to pull away with Savic dropping bombs from downtown to give the home team a 13-9 lead. But NY Harlem wasn’t done yet. Kidani Brutus let it fly from another postcode to get the margin down to one point as another thrilling finish loomed.
With the game on the line, Mr Bullutproof is money. He made three layups to get Novi Sad within striking distance and then Ivosev – who had a game high 8 points – finished it off with a fallaway two as the crowd partied like it was New Year’s Eve.
Novi Sad had already qualified for the third Masters event meaning NY Harlem and Liman won the two tickets.
Riga Ghetto (LAT), Princeton (USA) and Edmonton (CAN) also will play at the Mexico Masters on July 6-7.
EDMONTON (3×3 Challengers)- NY Harlem 3Ball (USA) won the Edmonton Challenger after defeating Ralja Intergalactic (SRB) 21-17 in the final on September 22-23.
NY Harlem 3Ball won their first challenger of the season against the newest Serbian team on the tour. The final was one of the fastest games of the tournament lasting only 5:30 of game time. Ralja took an early lead as 23-year-old star Nebosja Kilijan scored 3x 2-pointers. It was not enough to beat the 2-time WT Mexico City Masters runner-up Disco Dominque Jones and company.
NY Harlem 3Ball won a USD 10,000 cheque, they also secured a ticket to the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Penang Masters, which will take place in Malaysia on October 13-14.
This means NY Harlem 3Ball will play in their 2 Masters of the 2018 season.
By finishing second, Ralja Intergalactic also won a trip to Malaysia. It will be their 3rd Masters of the season. They are currently ranked 14th on 2018 WT standings and will look to improve upon 6th place finish in Debrecen Masters.
In total, 16 teams from 7 countries competed for 2 days in the West Edmonton Mall for a total of USD 20,000 in prize money.
The other teams who have already clinched their ticket to the Penang Masters are Liman (SRB), Zemun (SRB), Kranj (SLO), Princeton (USA), Piran (SLO), Melbourne (AUS), Delhi (IND), Tachikawa Dice (JPN).
This was the last Challenger of the 2018 season.
VIEQUES (3×3 Challengers) – Princeton (USA) won their second challenger of the season after defeating NY Harlem (USA) in the final of the Vieques 3×3 Challenger on June 30 – July 1, 2018.
After winning the Huaian Challenger in China 2 months ago, the American team flew to Puerto Rico to add more silverware to their trophy cabinet.
After dropping their opener… against NY Harlem, Princeton bounced back, stopped two Top 10 teams in the world back to back (Liman, #2 and Saskatoon, #9) before avenging their pool loss in the final on a clutch two-pointer courtesy of former NBA player Robbie Hummel.
Princeton had already secured their ticket to the World Tour Mexico City Masters but took home the 10,000 USD cheque and the ranking points.
NY Harlem and third-place Saskatoon (CAN) will therefore join Princeton in the Mexican capital, when the Masters take place on September 8-9.
Piran (SLO), Ljubljana (SLO) and Ponce (PUR) are the other 3 teams who have already booked their flights to Mexico.
Six of the Top 16 teams in the world and a total of 16 teams from 8 different countries competed in Puerto Rico.
The next Challenger will be held in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy on July 14-15.