Top 10 players to watch at FIBA 3x3 World Tour Cebu Masters 2022
CEBU (Philippines) - The FIBA 3x3 World Your 2022 is back in hoops mad Philippines and you just know it's going to get all kinds of crazy at the first ever Cebu Masters on October 1-2.
The standard is high after the Manila Masters in May, where fans made more noise than the country's famous jeepneys in heavy traffic.
Let's look at 10 players you just have to watch.
Mark Tallo (Cebu Chooks)
The Philippines' No.1 player did everything in Manila. Break ankles? Check. No look dimes? Check. Insane clutch shots? Check. Blow the roof off the Ayala Mall? Almost.
Mark Tallo is a natural born entertainer, you just know this dude dominates karaoke night. And you also know the 28-year-old is craving to put on a show in his hometown as the local hero's dream of playing on the World Tour in front of family and friends comes true.
We're not sure how far he can take Cebu, but almost certainly Mark Tallo will make our top plays of the tournament.
Henry Iloka (Manila Chooks)
There might not be anyone stronger or more physically intimidating than this 6ft. 10in (2.08m), 110kg/243lb beast. He can flex like he's a professional bodybuilder, but Henry Iloka prefers flexin' on the half-court where he can dominate equally on O and D.
Don't get in his way because this Manila Chooks warrior loves nothing more than stuffing the rim, but he's not just a mean dunker, Iloka is a bad man on defense where he'll have a personal block party if you're not careful.
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Thibaut Vervoort (Antwerp)
'Must See TV' was muted in Utrecht as Antwerp looked to go back-to-back on the World Tour. But you just know the Debrecen MVP will be firing on all cylinders and once again become the hottest show on television.
The 24-year-old will be looking to make amends for Antwerp's worse ever showing on the World Tour when they were surprisingly knocked out on Day 1 in Manila. The 6ft. 5in (1.97m) missed his chance to entertain the loud Filipino fans back then and will be keen to show off his full arsenal, where he might just be the most complete player in 3x3.
We feel confident saying this - Antwerp won't be eliminated early in Cebu. Thibaut Vervoort will make sure that doesn't happen.
Karlis Lasmanis/Nauris Miezis (Riga)
3x3's most famous superhero duo have reunited and they are enjoying going kapow'!'on opponents. Lasmanis aka 'Batman' went nananana in Montreal to claim MVP in a return to 3x3 where he didn't miss a beat.
Miezis is the best 'Robin' we've seen hoop, but he can oh so easily switch to the lead superhero whenever he wants to. This irresistible duo put on a show in the Philippines at FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2018 but it's been a long time and this double act want to do something special for the fans.
We don't quite know what they have in store but history suggests it's going to be pretty memorable.
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Dimeo van der Horst (Amsterdam HiPRO)
'Dimes' has been a man on a mission in 2022, where he has averaged a ridiculous 7.5ppg - the most by any player with 10+ games on the World Tour.
The 31-year-old has been in uber aggressive mode, where he drives to the rim stylishly like he's in a Ferrari. He's got all the moves and when his two-pieces are poppin' then it's a wrap.
But team success has been harder to find for Amsterdam on the World Tour, where they haven't been able to make the final this season. Dimeo van der Horst has already given plenty but if he can go up another gear then Amsterdam might just finally have their breakthrough in 2022.
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Dulguun Enkhbat (Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy)
The man with the perfect hair might look like a Calvin Klein ambassador but this dude is all blue collar on defense, where he can drive opponents to having recurring nightmares.
The 30-year-old has been a force for some time and part of Mongolia's best team, who have helped fuel 3x3's incredible popularity in the landlocked East Asian country. But ultimate World Tour success has eluded the Mongolians who have thought that 2022 is their year.
They've been flying to all parts of the globe looking for that W, but maybe their time is about to arrive in Cebu. You just know Dulguun Enkhbat will give it his best shake.
Anand Ariunbold (Sansar MMC Energy)
There is something about Filipino soil that agrees with Anand Ariunbold, who was an absolute flame thrower in Manila with 30 points in 4 games to lead Sansar to their best-ever result of the semi-finals.
The 25-year-old is no longer that incredible prospect - he's the real deal who torches opponents. He may be lanky but Ariunbold can twist his body around to devastating effect and defy the outstretched arms of defenders to score the most ridiculous buckets.
Just wait and see in Cebu.
Malik Hluchoweckyj (Omaha 3Ball)
These new American sensations are starting to make their move with human highlight machine Malik Hluchoweckyj leading the charge.
The soon to be 26-year-old will be looking for an early present in Cebu and all his gifts might come at once if he can end a three-year drought for American teams on the World Tour.
The 6ft. 1in (1.85m) Hluchoweckyj is electrifying with the Wilson and can also pour in buckets to form a devastating one-two punch with Dylan Travis.
The Quebec Challenger MVP translated his success onto the World Tour with a dazzling showing in Montreal, where he was second in highlights and led Omaha into the semis.
We can't wait to see what new tricks he unleashes in Cebu when he takes on Mark Tallo in a Day One firecracker.
Yosuke Saito (Utsunomiya BREX)
One of the best Japanese 3x3 players to ever do it, Saito just keeps getting better and he's looking to add to an impressive season on the pro circuit.
He's not the biggest dude going around, at 6ft (1.83m), but don't let that fool you because Saito can get hotter than wasabi from outside the arc and show his serious handles in Cebu.
Tomoya Ochiai (Saitama ALPHAS)
Speak about sick Japanese players and we can't just forget about the OG himself - Tomoya Ochiai, who just became a Maurice Lacroix brand ambassador. No one can imitate this crafty 6ft. 5in (1.95m) Ochiai aka 'Worm'.
When he has the Wilson, he somehow does the impossible and makes the game slow down such is his magical powers. Saitama may be underdogs in Cebu but you just can't write off any team with Tomoya Ochiai.