Top ten 3x3 teams touchdown in Kaohsiung in search for a spot in Nanjing

KAOHSIUNG (Chinese Taipei) - The city of Kaohsiung will play host to some of the best in the game on September 21-22 as they host their first-ever 3x3 Challenger.

With a crowd of passionate 3x3 basketball fans looking on, teams will fight for a ticket to the Nanjing Masters in October. The winner and runner-up of the Challenger will earn a spot on that leg of the World Tour.

Heading into the event as favorites are the formidable NY Harlem (USA). The American side are regulars on the tour; they won the Lausanne event in August and finished second in Mexico back in July this year. Taking to the court for the New York outfit will be tricky guard Kidani Brutus, Bronx native David Seagers, 25-year-old Joey King and Antoinne Morgano. 

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The Americans’ most notable threat comes in the form of Vrbas (SRB), featuring the dynamic duo of 27-year-old Ivan Popovic and the highly-ranked Stahinja Stojacic. The Serbians have taken part in a couple of tour events this year, finishing second in Saskatoon in July and most recently placing fourth in Debrecen.

A strong Edmonton (CAN) team enter the Challenger as the third seed and a frequent participant on the circuit. Led by Canada’s top 3x3 talent in the form of 33-year-old Calgary native Kyle Landry, they have featured in five events on the World Tour since June and cannot be overlooked as realistic contenders. 

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Another automatically-allocated team hoping to make some noise is Šakiai Gulbelė (LTU), who also boast their country’s top player – the powerful Aurelijus Pukelis. The Lithuanians will carry some significant momentum into the weekend, after conquering the MMC Sukhbaatar Challenger in Mongolia and Montreal Masters. 

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Homegrown representation comes in several forms at this event. Taoyuan (TPE) will be seen as the most realistic Taiwanese hope, beginning the tournament in the tenth seed. Their most notable player is 30-year-old Hsiieh Cheng-Yang; he is ranked 4051st in the world rankings, which says all you need to know about the challenge they have ahead of them. They will be also be joined by fellow compatriots - thirteenth seed Yanlin.

The true hometown story is that of Kaohsiung (TPE). They will undoubtedly garner passionate support from the local audience, who they will be desperate to impress. They are unequivocal underdogs, however, so the fairytale ending seems like an outside bet.

Other teams in the running include Tokyo Dime (JPN), Pasig Chooks (PHI), Taikhair ARA ADM (MGL), Shinagawa (JPN), New York City (USA), Panaji 3BL (IND), Saigon Next Level (VIE) and Singapore (SGP).

Fans can expect a high calibre of competitive basketball, as the teams fight to earn their trip to China.

The winner in Kaoshiung takes home $15,000 USD and there is $32,000 overall in prize money - a significant increase from $20,000 in challengers last year.