Red hot Vienna looking to continue surge at FIBA 3x3 Eaubonne Challenger 2022
EAUBONNE (France) - Confident Vienna (AUT) face tricky early tests as they look to continue their rich form at the FIBA 3x3 Eaubonne Challenger 2022 on August 27-28.
Led by comeback king Stefan Stojacic, the Austrians have emerged as the real deal this season but are desperate to add to their sole appearance on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2022 with two tickets up for grabs at next month's Utrecht Masters.
We just have to start with No.3 seed Vienna, who have made the leap after Stefan Stojacic aka 'Mr Robot' rewired his injured knee to fuel victory at the ABA Edmonton Challenger followed by a runner-up finish in Sukhbaatar.
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3x3 great Stojacic hasn't been the only one firing with dunking machine Filip Kramer impossible to stop when he's in beast mode.
But Vienna will have to be switched on from the start as they face dangerous teams Sansar MMC Energy (MGL) and fan favorite NY Harlem (USA) in Pool C that just has to be labelled the 'Group of Death'.
No.1 seed Sakiai Gulbele are a bit hot and cold having won the Ulaanbaatar Challenger, but also prone to early exits. You just have to take seriously any team boasting paint beast Aurelijus Pukelis and FIBA 3x3 Crelan World Cup 2022 silver medalist Marijus Uzupis.
It's a similar story for No.2 seed Jeddah (KSA) who just haven't quite clicked with their shiny new parts. But we can't give up on these dudes, there's just too much individual talent.
We always love new legit teams and Dusseldorf LFDY (GER) and Belgrade Partizan (SRB) have fit the bill nicely with strong results to make statements on the pro circuit.
If Dusseldorf's rising star Leon Fertig and Belgrade's dunk artist Marko Stevanovic get going then those emerging teams might just break through for a title.
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We've already touched on a couple earlier but should highlight Sansar and NY Harlem a little bit more. The Mongolians boast flame thrower Anand Ariunbold, whose dizzying moves leave defenders needing to purchase health insurance before playing him.
While it's a big welcome back to the hugely popular NY Harlem, who in case you've forgotten are one of the GOAT 3x3 entertainers led by Dominique Jones aka 'Disco Domo' who has moves like Jagger.
You want a dark horse then it just has to be Tel-Aviv (ISR), a rising 3x3 squad who made a splash with a dazzling semi-final finish at the Prague Masters. Keep your eyes on 25-year-old wrecking ball Netanel Artzi, who will be threatening to break rims in Eaubonne.
He leads a talented young Tel-Aviv, who will fancy their chances of an upset over Sakiai in Pool A en route to a giant killing run.
Pool A: Sakiai Gulbele (LTU), Tel-Aviv (ISR), Paris (FRA)
Pool B: Jeddah (KSA), Trakai Gealan (LTU), Qualifier
Pool C: Vienna (AUT), Sansar MMC Energy (MGL), NY Harlem (USA)
Pool D: Belgrade Partizan (SRB), Versailles (FRA), Qualifier
What's at stake
The top 2 teams in Eaubonne will qualify for the Utrecht Masters on September 24-25, 2022, as part of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour. Important note: Belgrade Partizan have already qualified so if they finish top two then the third-placed team gets through.
How to watch
The two-day extravaganza is on August 27-28 and you can follow it live on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube and Facebook pages.
Haven't registered or done your team yet? Make sure you download the 3x3 Fantasy app and get a chance to win an official Wilson 3x3 ball.