Everything you need to know before FIBA 3x3 World Tour Montreal Masters 2022
MONTREAL (Canada) - The FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2022 travels to North America as the action heats up at the Montreal Masters on September 3-4, where a new winner (this season) will be crowned.
Let's take a closer look at everything you need to know about this season's sixth Masters.
Where can I watch the Montreal Masters?
The action runs from September 3-4, and you can follow it live on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube, Facebook, Sina Weibo and Douyin pages.
Who is competing in Montreal?
Five of the top 10 teams in the world rankings and a total of 14 squads: Riga, Sakiai Gulbele, Princeton, Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy, Vienna, Chicago, San Juan, Omaha 3BALL, Lublin Lotto, Winnipeg, Beijing, Sao Paulo DC, Old Montreal, Gatineau
What are the pools?
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Who are the favorites?
It's the biggest reunion since Ben Affleck and J-Lo got back together. For the first time this year, No.1 seed Riga (LAT) have their four Tokyo Olympic gold medalists in the lineup after the return of superstar Karlis Lasmanis aka 'Batman'.
And his comeback is just in the nick of time with the Latvians going through a rare drought as the World Tour's talent pool grows deeper. But Lasmanis is ready to put on the cape, which should also help ease the burden on his partner in crime Nauris Miezis, who had so manfully played the role of lone superhero.
Riga may enter with their old swagger, but collecting their first W won't be easy in a tough field which sees No.2 seed Sakiai Gulbele (LTU) arrive in Montreal red hot after winning the Eaubonne Challenger.
Aurelijus Pukelis was unstoppable and formed a deadly duo with Crelan FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2022 silver medalist Marijus Uzupis, who will be pumped up to return to Montreal where he led Sakiai to their only Masters title in 2019.
No.3 seed Princeton (USA) should enjoy their short journey across the border as the American powerhouse desperately try to end a three-year drought on the World Tour.
There have been some exciting new American teams emerge this season, but Princeton continue to fly the red, white and blue flag. However, they are desperate for a title after three runner-up finishes this season, including at the Utsunomiya Opener.
Speaking of American teams, Omaha 3BALL (USA) are emerging as the real deal and clearly enjoyed stepping foot in Drake's country after winning their first major title on the 3x3 pro circuit with victory at the Quebec Challenger.
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We can't ignore Vienna (AUT), who deserve to be here after reaching four straight Challenger finals.
Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL) have teased only to frustratingly fail to get past the quarters on three attempts this season, but you feel they have a deep run in them sooner or later.
X-factor teams include Lausanne Masters 2021 champs San Juan (PUR) and Chicago (USA) but if you want a dark horse then it might just be newcomers Beijing (CHN) who boast 3x3 legend Marko Savic and former Liman player Peng Yan.
Who are the best players?
We just have to start with Karlis Lasmanis, who was the 2021 MVP in a year where his shot to win Olympic gold will be replayed forever.
In case you've forgotten, 'Flight KLM' often puts defenders in a body bag but he can also step back from the logo and shout his favorite catch cry "nanananana".
Lasmanis, however, will have to contend with a lot of talent to win back the crown. His sidekick Nauris Miezis, as mentioned earlier, has been shooting flames but are the Riga superheros still the best duo in the business?
Sakiai's Aurelijus Pukelis and Marijus Uzupis have been smacking opponents with a deadly one-two punch, but so have Omaha 3Ball's Malik Hluchoweckyj and Dylan Travis.
We'll see which duo comes out on top in Montreal.
There are a couple of very familiar North Americans through Princeton's high-flyer Kareem Maddox and Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy's Steve Sir, who should enjoy returning to his home country and dropping two pieces on a loop.
Princeton have been strengthened this season by the inclusion of Isaiah Wilkerson, who is built like he should be in the WWE and you don't want to mess with him in the paint because this competitive beast loves to play bully ball.
If you're looking for a guy likely to pull out a Maurice Lacroix buzzer beater then it just has to be San Juan's Angel Matias, who loves nothing more than having the Wilson in his hand when the game is on the line.
Ulaanbaatar's Delgernyam Davaasambuu is also capable of being the very best player on the half court on any given day to underline how competitive and crazy the action will be in Montreal.