Defending champs Novi Sad and Amsterdam's clash headlines FIBA 3x3 World Tour's return at Debrecen Masters
DEBRECEN (Hungary) - Defending champion Novi Sad (SRB) will face a tough start against Team Amsterdam (NED) to herald the FIBA 3x3 World Tour's return on August 29-30 in Debrecen.
After the World Tour had been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the wait will end in style with the absolutely loaded Debrecen Masters featuring the top 10 ranked 3x3 players in the world.
Four-time champion Novi Sad are the second seed and headline Pool B featuring Team Amsterdam and local favorite Debrecen (HUN).
A full-strength Novi Sad are led by No.1 player in the world Dusan Bulut aka 'Mr Bullutproof' but the Serbs could be challenged by the reliable Dutch masters, who have firepower and boast explosive highlight reel Dimeo van der Horst.
No.1 seed Liman (SRB) will be the team to beat in Pool A also featuring Humpolec Bernard (CZE) and Graz (AUT), the first Austrian team to ever play on the World Tour. All eyes will be on the return of Liman superstar Stefan Stojacic aka Mr Robot who missed most of last year due to a calf injury.
Liman should fancy their chances of a title run with Stojacic's dazzling moves boosting an already formidable team who finished last season on top of the 3x3 rankings.
Pool C is highlighted by an intriguing contest with No.3 seed Riga Ghetto (LAT) and Piran (SLO) squaring off in a game brimming with stars. The superhero Latvian duo of Karlis Lasmanis aka 'Batman' and Nauris Miezis aka 'Robin' will be pitted against the Benjamin Button of 3x3, Simon Finzgar, who unfortunately will have to go without his partner in crime Gasper Ovnik this time.
The winner will also receive a confidence boost with the teams scheduled to meet in the pool stage of the third Masters.
Tallinn (EST) will be aiming to throw a curve ball and ensure the group is more than a two-team affair.
Perhaps the most entertaining game on day 1 will be in Pool D when No.4 seed NY Harlem (USA) and No.5 Sakiai Gulbele (LTU) face off. Both teams emerged in 2019 with Masters victories and will look to cement themselves as 3x3 powerhouses this season.
Last year's regular season World Tour MVP Dominique Jones aka 'Disco Domo' has undoubtedly been adding to his party tricks and is set to further mesmerize fans. But the New Yorkers will have to deal with the striking one-two punch of Marijus Uzupis and Paulius Beliavicius as the tandem scored at will last year.
To add to the intrigue, the teams have been pitted against each other in the second Masters and potentially the third.
Oh you want more drama? Another Lithuanian team will make it to Pool D: 12th seeds Utena Uniclub (LTU), who beat their countrymen from Sakiai Gulbele in the final of the Hoptrans3x3 event last month.
The pools of the second and third Masters - also to be played in Debrecen in the coming weeks - have also been revealed and can be viewed on worldtour.fiba3x3.com/2020
Last month, FIBA announced the World Tour's return starting in Debrecen and more events are scheduled to happen later this year depending on the COVID-19 situation.