Saskatoon on a mission on Day 1 at Prague Masters
PRAGUE (2016 FIBA 3x3 World Tour) - 2014 FIBA 3x3 World Tour runner-ups Saskatoon (CAN) had a perfect 2-0 record on the opening day of the Prague Masters on 6 August 2016.
They travelled over 7,000 km to have a chance to play in Prague. After falling short at the Mexico City Masters (3rd), Michael Linklater & co embarked on a 3-week trip to Europe to compete against the best European teams and got their ticket to Prague in a challenger in Berlin, Germany.
The Canadian did not disappoint in Pool D and were one of only two teams to win both games on Day 1. Nolan Brudehl caught fire against Budapest with 11pts including 5 bombs from behind the arc. Michael Linklater then stepped up in a hard-fought game against Gdansk with 8pts.
The only other unbeaten team? Saskatoon's nemesis Novi Sad Al Wahda, who had back-to-back wins in Pool A against Humpolec (CZE) (21-17) and Utrecht (NED) (21-12) - despite dunking machine Bas Rozendaal aka 'the Mountain'.
The surprises came on Pool B and C where Vitez (BIH) and Ostrava (CZE) took first place despite being seeded 10th and 11th respectively!
Zeljko Palavra not only led Vitez but led all scorers on Day 1 with 22 points. He had a whopping 15 in a one-point loss against Ljubljana and was instrumental in the win against Belgrade.
Ostrava got the massive crowd of Wenceslas Square on its feet after stunning upset of #3 seed Piran (SLO) and went through after the Slovenians defeated Vilnius (LTU).
The biggest shock on Day 1 was the resume of some of the eliminated teams: Belgrade (SRB) were a semi-finalist last year in Prague and Gdansk (POL) reached the semi-finals of the Lausanne Masters last season. Even worse: Vilnius won the whole thing in Lausanne in 2015.
Balasz Kerpel-Fronius (Budapest, HUN) and Michael Hicks (Gdansk, POL) trailed Palavra in the scoring charts with 20 and 19pts respectively.
The action resumes at 16.30 local time (GMT+2) tomorrow with the quarter-finals.
Novi Sad Al Wahda (UAE, 1) - Budapest (HUN, 12)
Ostrava (CZE, 11) - Ljubljana (SLO, 2)
Vitez (BIH, 10) - Piran (SLO, 3)
Saskatoon (CAN, 4) - Humpolec (CZE, 9)
In the Shoot-out Contest Qualifier, Nolan Brudehl (Saskatoon, CAN), Jasmin Hercegovac (Ljubljana, SLO), Jan Kratochvil (Humpolec, CZE) and Dejan Majstorovic (Novi Sad Al Wahda, UAE) earned their ticket to the final tomorrow.
Learn more about the FIBA 3x3 World Tour on our YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat accounts and join the conversation using the official hashtag #3x3WT