FIBA 3x3 World Tour Jeddah Masters FAQ: Who will make it to the Utsunomiya Final?
JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia) – An FAQ about why the Jeddah Masters is must watch entertainment on October 18-19, 2019.
In case you have somehow forgotten, you do realize there are two spots available for the Utsunomiya Final?
Ten of the 12 spots for the Utsunomiya Final have been finalized. Currently, Lausanne and Vrbas are 11th and 12th on the World Tour standings. But you know what? They aren't in Jeddah so we've got a slew of teams with a chance of making the prestigious finale next month.
Hosts Jeddah, Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy, Utsunomiya, Balanga Chooks, Lyon and Tokyo Dime can make the cut with strong performances in Jeddah. It means basically every game has high stakes as these desperate teams try to keep their season alive. Wanna know more? Check our explanation piece.
What a way to complete the Masters cycle!
Who is the real world No.2 – Liman or Riga Ghetto?
Even though world No.1 Novi Sad have not been nearly as dominant as they did it in the past, they still comfortably hold down top billing on the official 3x3 rankings. But the battle for No.2 has been on all year between Liman and Riga Ghetto who have traded places on the rankings several times.
Only 15,000 points separate them on the rankings with Riga Ghetto currently holding the edge. Both will be in Jeddah and looking for a big confidence boost before Utsunomiya.
Riga Ghetto will again be without superstar Karlis Lasmanis, who is out for the season due to ankle surgery but they did well without him to reach the semis in Nanjing. Liman are loaded with stars highlighted by the Tour's leading scorer Mihailo Vasic.
It might not be the most important thing but the fight for No.2 has been a fun sideshow all season.
Will the real world No.2 please stand up?
Are Sakiai Gulbele 3x3's new powerhouse?
Hasn't this season just been so much fun? Competitive balance! We basically knew last year that Novi Sad were going to win every time they stepped onto the court but this year has been different. New teams have emerged. So many teams can win titles.
Sakiai Gulbele has been lights out in recent months. We know Lithuania is a basketball powerhouse and now that love for hoops has translated to 3x3 with Sakiai Gulbele flat out balling. Their last two Masters? Victory in Montreal and runners-up last week in Nanjing.
Jeddah is only their fourth Masters of the season but they've already qualified for the big dance in Utsunomiya. Led by a nasty one-two punch from Aurelijus Pukelis and Marijus Uzupis, Sakiai Gulbele might just be the favorites in Jeddah.
Can a non-European team win in Jeddah?
Europeans have been the trendsetters in 3x3. And we've got some of the best in the business in Jeddah. This season, North American teams have challenged that supremacy with the emergence of Princeton, NY Harlem and Edmonton. But there are no Northern American teams in the draw.
So perhaps an Asian team can spoil the party? Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy have been a competitive team for some time but broke through at the recent Jeju Challenger and became the first-ever All-Asian squad to claim a FIBA 3x3 Challenger.
You want a dark horse? Balanga Chooks is the pick. Their only Masters this year was the very first one in Doha. And the Filipinos proved they rise to the big game occasion by knocking off Riga Ghetto.
And let's not forget hosts Jeddah who have been a surprise packet of late highlighted by a semi-final appearance at the Debrecen Masters.
Do you still have any doubts about how global 3x3 is?
3x3 is spreading to all parts of the globe and the World Tour now arrives in Jeddah, the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia. The World Tour has gone to Europe, Asia, the Gulf region and through the Americas.
3x3 is truly global.
I'm sold. Where and when do I watch this thing?