Can Gagarin retain their title at the Tinkoff Moscow Challenger 2019?
MOSCOW (Russia) – Just one year ago, 3x3 fans discovered a young Russian team named Gagarin, who upset all the best teams in the world to win the Tinkoff Moscow Challenger. 12 months later, they're back as the number 6 team in the world, ready to keep their crown despite the crazy competition.
Gagarin arrive in Moscow with a lot of confidence, after beating the #3 team in the world Riga Ghetto (LAT) and giving the world's #1 team Novi Sad (SRB) a big scare at the Chengdu Masters last weekend.
Speaking of Novi Sad, the 2016 winners will be in the Russian capital as well. As a matter of fact, the winners of the last 3 editions will be there (Riga Ghetto won in 2017).
Novi Sad will see the return of their lineup of death with Dusan Bulut back on the 3x3 court.
With last year's third-place team Princeton (USA) also in town, the Tinkoff Moscow Challenger will feature 4 of the best 8 teams in the world.
Two Filipino teams will travel all the way to Russia, including Pasig Chooks, who feature former Novi Sad player Nikola Pavlovic and Filipino star Joshua Munzon.
The tournament is so loaded that the two other best teams in Russia, Moscow Inanomo (#19 in the world) and Sosnovy Bor CopRosatom (#29) will have to go through a qualifying draw.
The winners in Moscow will earn $15,000 USD and there is $32,000 overall in prize money - a significant increase from $20,000 in challengers last year.
The two top teams will clinch a spot at the Prague Masters on August 3-4.
Liman (SRB) and Zemun (SRB) are the only 2 teams who have already qualified, based on their ranking at the start of the season.
Follow the Tinkoff Moscow Challenger live on the official FIBA 3x3 YouTube channel.