Ub Huishan NE bounce back to win FIBA 3x3 Doha Challenger 2023
DOHA (Qatar) - Top-ranked Ub Huishan NE (SRB) rediscovered their best to win the FIBA 3x3 Doha Challenger 2023.
Here's what happened.
The winners: Ub Huishan NE (SRB)
They were: No.1 most points scored
Having won just once from their last seven events, Ub were keen to get back to their top form.
They did exactly that with an unbeaten campaign in Doha to capture their 10th title of 2023.
It wasn't easy with Ub winning by four points or less in each of their five games.
They had to use all their trademark composure to squeeze past dangerous Utsunomiya BREX EXE (JPN) first up after Strahinja Stojacic hit a buzzer beater.
Ub then outlasted Sansar MMC Energy (MGL) before needing 11 points from Dejan Majstorovic to overcome Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL) in the quarters.
It set up a rematch with Miami, who had recently beaten them in the semis of the Cebu Masters.
But the Serbs exacted revenge with Majstorovic and Marko Brankovic combining for 16 points to storm into the final against Beijing (CHN).
Brankovic continued his hot form to score a game-high 9 points as Ub edged Beijing to end their mini-slump in style.
The left-handed Brankovic shrugged off recent struggles to capture MVP after finishing No.1 in points (37).
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The runner's up: Beijing (CHN)
After a disastrous Day One exit in Amsterdam, Beijing got back on track and came within an inch of winning their fifth title of the season.
They meant business from the start with huge wins over Doha Expo (QAT) and Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL) before being tested by Utsunomiya BREX EXE in the quarters.
An ice-cool Beijing then edged Jeddah in the semis but their momentum ended in the final. Still it was a satisfying result for a team who had been in a mini slump.
Yuanbo steals the show: We all know Beijing has a superhero duo in Karlis Lasmansi and Nauris Miezis, but it was Yuanbo Zhu who took center stage with a powerful performance.
The Chinese star finished second in points (32) and player value (34.2), while he absolutely dominated the boards to finish top in rebounds (22). If he continues this form then Beijing will have a new superhero to add to the mix.
The Final: Ub Huishan NE 21-Beijing 18
There was a lot of hype over this contest pitting Latvian superheroes Karlis Lasmanis and Nauris Miezis against their Serb rivals.
Ub had proven the master in the match-up with a couple of Masters wins previously and Dejan Majstorovic gave them a strong start with a two-piece.
Lasmanis responded by putting the moves on with a crafty layup, but Ub looked sharp and a two from Strahinja Stojacic gave them a 6-2 cushion.
Yuanbo Zhu had been huge all tournament and he scored four straight points for Beijing who were right back in the contest.
Miezis and Lasmanis put their capes on to score five straight points as Beijing took control, but Ub are never rattled and soon tied the scores.
Lasmanis played bully ball inside to give Beijing the lead as the teams traded buckets.
Lasmanis then soared higher than Qatar Airways to posterize Stojacic as Beijing inched closer to the magical 21-point target.
But that only fired up Ub as Majstorovic and Brankovic went bang, bang to get Ub within sight of victory.
Fittingly it was MVP Brankovic who finished it off as Ub celebrated title No.10 in 2023.
The reward: Three tickets to the Abu Dhabi Masters
Ub Huishan NE, Beijing and Miami received tickets and joined already qualified Partizan, San Juan, Lausanne Sport LS, Wuxi, Omaha, Jeddah, Pirot and Manila Chooks as the teams qualified to the Abu Dhabi Masters on October 28-29.
1. Ub Huishan NE (SRB)
2. Beijing (CHN)
3. Miami (USA)
4. Jeddah (KSA)
5. Amsterdam HiPRO (NED)
1. Marko Brankovic (Ub Huishan NE, SRB) 37 pts
2. Yuanbo Zhu (Beijing, CHN) 32 pts
3. Nauris Miezis (Beijing, CHN) 32 pts
4. Malik Hluchowecky (Jeddah, KSA) 30 pts
5. Marko Milakovic (Utsunomiya BREX EXE, JPN) 30 pts
- Second seeds Amsterdam HiPRO (NED) fell in the quarters to Jeddah after an OT defeat.
- Marko Milakovic was red-hot with 30 points in 3 games, but Utsunomiya BREX EXE fell in the quarters to Beijing.
- Jimmer Fredette continued his purple patch and his masterpiece was a triple-five of 9 points, 5 rebounds and 5 highlights against Jeddah on Day One.