Piran aim for perfect Lausanne Masters preparation at Ljubljana 3x3 Challenger
The world No.4 backed up their stunning Saskatoon Masters victory with a solid semi-finals finish in Prague even though they had a refreshed line-up. Anže Srebovt misses again but will be in the line-up in Lausanne where Piran are the No.2 seeds.
It means 23-year-old young gun Milan Kovačević, who impressed in Prague, once again gets a chance to show off his talent.
Even though they will be inspired by the passionate Slovenian fans, Piran will have to contend with numerous challenges in a loaded field. No.2 seeds Amsterdam (NED) have performed well in Masters this season and will fancy their chances of a title in Slovenia being at full-strength.
Much like Piran, Princeton (USA) will be hoping for a strong showing before the Lausanne Masters. The Americans finished runners-up to Riga Ghetto (LAT) at the Prague Masters where they defeated Piran in the semis.
Princeton appear to be one of the rising 3x3 powerhouses fueled by the dominance of superstar Robbie Hummel, who might well be the best player on the World Tour.
Similarly, Edmonton (CAN) are rising up the rankings and have consistently made the quarter-finals of Masters. They come into Ljubljana in-form having reached the final of last week’s Bucharest Challenger.
But the Canadians have been dealt a blow and will be without the services of the explosive Jermaine Bucknor, who has been replaced by Kenny Otieno.
Dark horses for the event might be Šakiai Gulbelė (LTU) and Split Statist (CRO) with the former making the final of the Ghetto Basket Riga Challenger and the latter reaching the semis in Bucharest.
Eight of the top 18 ranked teams in the world will compete in the 16-team tournament. The winner in Ljubljana takes home $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 – other than already qualified Edmonton - earn tickets for the Debrecen Masters on August 27-28 in the seventh stop on this season’s FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
World No.2 Riga Ghetto, No.3 Liman (SRB), No.6 NY Harlem (USA), No.10 Gagarin (RUS), No.1 1 Edmonton and No.14 Lausanne (SUI) have already qualified for Debrecen.
Follow the Ljubljana Challenger live on the official FIBA 3x3 YouTube channel.