FIBA 3x3 World Tour titleholders Ljubljana set for challenging start after Saskatoon Masters seeding
SASKATOON (FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2017) – The number two 3x3 team in the world Ljubljana (SLO) will start their season against a competitive Princeton (USA) team following the automatic seeding of the opening Masters of the year in Saskatoon, Canada on July 15-16.
Princeton (USA) feature the four players who represented USA and finished 7th overall at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2017 in Nantes, France on June 17-21, including the six-packed Dan Mavraides.
As if Pool A was not loaded enough, add Rio de Janeiro (BRA) to the mix, a team that reached the World Tour Final in 2015.
Like it is the case in all FIBA 3x3 competitions, the seeding is conducted automatically according to the 3x3 individual World ranking (of the three best players from each team). According to the FIBA 3x3 regulations, teams are seeded as follows:
Pool B is headlined by the number 3 team in the world and local favorites Saskatoon (CAN). The World Tour 2014 finalists are a team to watch following the addition of sharpshooter Steve Sir.
One of the four members of that 2014 Saskatoon team will play in Pool B… for another team. The slasher O’Neil Gordon now dunks for Team Winnipeg (CAN), who come back to the World Tour with a new-look roster to support Wyatt Anders. Wonder how good this team has become? Last weekend at the Canadian Quest, Winnipeg knocked out Saskatoon in the quarter-finals… Team Manta (ECU) is back at the World Tour after finishing 8th last year at the Americas Masters (under the name Loja). Keep an eye on 21-year-old Alexander Guerra who’s an ankle-breaker specialist and can throw it down with authority.
Pool C might well be the toughest pool of them all with the up-and-coming Liman (SRB) and their captain Stefan Stojacic, who won the Ulaanbaatar Challenger and climbed to 8th place overall in the FIBA 3x3 Team Ranking.
They will meet one of the best teams in the US – NY Harlem – who finished 3rd overall at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2015. Last but not least, the pool will also feature Montreal (CAN) who just dominated the Canadian Quest last weekend.
Hamamatsu (JPN) is the 4th team in Saskatoon which has cracked the Top 10 in the Team Ranking (9th). Though the team is exclusively made of players of Indian origins, they will feel at home in Canada with both Bikramjit and his brother Inderbir Gill being of Canadian nationality and Inderbir Singh Gill having played college in Canada too.
It won’t be a walk in the park either for the World Tour 206 finalists in Pool D, as they face Gurabo (PUR) who defeated last year’s Mexico City Masters winners Caguas in the Puerto Rican Quest. To complete the pool, Team Humpolec (CZE) - who finished 4th at the Lipik Challenger – will replace the number one 3x3 team in the world, Novi Sad Al Wahda (UAE) who had qualified to the Saskatoon Masters but were unable to obtain a visa on time for the event while representing Serbia at the FIBA 3x3 Europe Cup.
For those not attending the games in the heart of Saskatoon in front of the Delta Hotels Bessborough (entrance is free!), pool games will start at 3pm local time (GMT-6) on Saturday live on FIBA 3x3's official YouTube channel. The top-two placed teams from each pool advance to a standard knock-out round which starts at the quarter-finals stage, from 12.45 local time on Sunday.