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Resurgent Saskatoon win Hang Zhou 3×3 Challenger

HANG ZHOU (3×3 Challengers) – Saskatoon bounced back after defeating The Hague (NED) 21-9 in the final of the Hang Zhou 3×3 Challenger on June 16-17, 2018.

There were high expectations for Michael Linklater and his 3 Saskatoon teammates as they represented Canada at the FIBA 3×3 World Cup earlier this month, especially after they had a perfect 4-0 record in the pool phase. But the tournament ended abruptly with a quarter final loss against the Netherlands.

Team Saskatoon proved that setback would not affect the rest of their 3×3 season as they won their 2nd Challenger of the season (after their win in GoYang, South Korea).

After stuttering on their opener (a 13-18 loss to Ralja Intergalactic), the Canadians won their next 4, with 2 wins against Top 10 teams in the world (Riga (LAT) and Kranj (SLO)).

After breaking the rim at the dunk contest, Michael Lieffers aka ‘Maple Lief’ gave Saskatoon a lift in a one-sided 21-9 in the final against a surprising The Hague team, which beat last year’s World Tour winners Zemun (SRB) in pool play.

Both Saskatoon and The Hague won a pass to the World Tour Chengdu Masters, which will take place on September 29-30. This will mark The Hague’s first World Tour appearance with this roster. Saskatoon had already secured a spot for the Saskatoon Masters by winning the GoYang Challenger.

Liman Tesla Voda (SRB), Riga (LAT), Moscow Inanomo (RUS) and Ulaanbaatar (MGL) are the other 4 teams who have already stamped their ticket to the Chengdu Masters.

Eight of the Top 20 teams in the world (including 4 from the Top 10) and a total of 16 teams from10 different countries competed in Hang Zhou.

The next Challenger will be held in Lipik, Croatia on June 22-23.

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

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Saskatoon win Goyang 3×3 Challenger 2018

GOYANG – Saskatoon (CAN) won the Goyang 3×3 Challenger – the first event of the professional season – after beating last year’s FIBA 3×3 World Tour winners Zemun (SRB) 17-11 in the final in Goyang, South Korea on April 14-15, 2018.

With the scored tied at 9-9 with 3 minutes to go, Saskatoon switched to 6th gear and finished on a 8-2 run.

Saskatoon captain Michael Linklater was named MVP of the tournament. He got plenty of help from sharpshooter Steve Sir and the latest addition to the team, Jordan Baker, who topped all scorers in Korea (34 points in 5 games).

Though Saskatoon reached the World Tour Final 4 times in 6 editions, won 2 Masters (Chicago 2014 and Lausanne 2016) and have consistently ranked among the best teams in the ranking, it is their first-ever Challenger title.

With this win, not only did Saskatoon get 10,000 USD, they also earned their ticket to the (home-based) FIBA 3×3 World Tour Saskatoon Masters, where they finished second last season and which will be staged on July 21-22.

Zemun (SRB) took home 6,000 USD and a trip to Canada as well. This means the number 2 team in the world is already guaranteed to play in 4 Masters this year. Thanks to their ranking, they were already given a wildcard to the Utsunomiya, Lausanne and Kuala Lumpur Masters.

The Serbian team was missing last year’s World Tour Final’s MVP Bogdan Dragovic, who tore his MCL in practice and could be out for 3 months.

Both semi-finalists Princeton (USA) and Riga (LAT) will join Saskatoon and Zemun since they had already earned their ticket to Canada (by winning the NBA Dew 3X Tour and thanks to a ranking wildcard respectively).

Princeton featured 2 new players in Korea: the athletic Kareem Maddox (who finished 4th in scoring) and former NBA player Robbie Hummel.

A total of 16 teams from 7 different countries competed in a crowded shopping mall, including 6 of the top 20 teams in the world: Zemun (#2), Riga (#6), Belgrade (#8), Amsterdam (#10), Ulaanbaatar (#12) and Saskatoon (#16).

Final Standings

  1. Saskatoon (CAN)
  2. Zemun (SRB)
  3. Princeton (USA)
  4. Riga (LAT)
  5. Amsterdam (NED)

Top Scorers

  1. Jordan Baker (Saskatoon, 34pts)
  2. Lazar Rasic (Zemun, 33)
  3. Karlis Lasmanis (Riga, 32)
  4. Kareem Maddox (Princeton, 30)
  5. Nauris Miezis (Riga, 29)

Relive the event

Day 1

Day 2

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

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Ljubljana win FIBA 3×3 World Tour Saskatoon Masters 2017

SASKATOON – FIBA 3×3 World Tour reigning champions Ljubljana (SLO) won the first Masters of the World Tour season and clinched their ticket to the Bloomage Beijing Final after besting Team Saskatoon (21-14) on their home turf in the title game on July 15-16.

The two-time World Tour winners were undefeated in the ‘Paris of the Prairies’ and in the final broke the heart of the spectators, who came in numbers to support Team Saskatoon.

Tomo Cajic had a game-high 8 points in the title game, topped the scoring list and was named MVP of the tournament. His teammate Jasmin Hercegovac also contributed 8 points while Blaz ‘Birdman’ Cresnar added 3 and Ales Kunc scored 2.

Team Saskatoon captain Michael Linklater netted a team-high 6 points in the losing effort.

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