All we learned from FIBA 3x3 World Tour Debrecen Masters 2023

DEBRECEN (Hungary) - The annual Debrecen Masters on August 26-27 was full of surprises and for the second straight event a new champion was crowned on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2023. 

Let's recap the action. 

Lethal Lithuanians 

Raudondvaris Hoptrans (LTU) has long been an underrated team on the World Tour, but they've reached great heights with two previous Masters titles. 

But 2023 hadn't been kind to them with Raudondvaris titleless on the pro circuit heading into Debrecen and they weren't able to make it past the quarters from three Masters. 

In Lausanne, the Lithuanians crashed out on Day One as question marks grew. Had they been overtaken in a deeper World Tour as new teams emerged? 

Those question marks resurfaced after they lost to Miami (USA) - one of those flashy newcomers - on Day One, but Raudondvaris then went on a sizzling run to make a statement. 

They beat Paris (FRA) and Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL) - who had won the title in Lausanne - in thrillers before again showcasing their ice-cool temperament with a crazy victory in the final against new kids on the block Tel-Aviv (ISR).

It was an event where  Aurelijus Pukelis and Marijus Uzupis proved they can be as devastating as any duo on the planet.

Pukelis walked off with the MVP after finishing No.1 in scoring  (49) and player value (50.1). He had an insane 13 points in the final, but it was Uzupis who pulled out his famous uzi to unleash the Maurice Lacroix Buzzer Beater to win the title. 

Raudondvaris deservedly celebrated their first title of the year and proved they belong in the elite tier of teams on the World Tour. 

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Tel-Aviv has arrived

We have been waiting for Tel-Aviv to truly arrive - having shown glimpses of their insane talent previously - and they did exactly that in Debrecen. 

Tel-Aviv came within an inch of a first-ever Masters title and were obviously heartbroken by Uzupis' lethal stroke. But they have plenty to be happy about after Tel-Aviv were unable to get through qualifying in Lausanne and Prague

A giant-killing run didn't appear likely when they were thrashed by Antwerp TOPdesk in their opener, but Tel-Aviv found confidence by beating Riga (LAT) to register their first Masters win of the season.

Think they were just content to get to Day Two? Think again. No one gave them a chance against top seeds Ub Huishan NE (SRB) and the quarter-final appeared to be going to script with the Serbs leading for most of the way. 

But Tomer Assayag was unstoppable as Tel-Aviv produced one of the upsets of the season with the 21-20 victory. They weren't nearly done with Tel-Aviv then stopping Jimmer Fredette's Miami in the semis with another thrilling victory.

Finally their luck ran out in the final, but Tel-Aviv have made the entire 3x3 world take notice with Joaquin Szuchman and Tomer Assayag combining for 66 points. 

A new force has emerged. 

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Miami again falls short 

It felt like everything was lining up for much-hyped Miami to win their first title in their debut season. 

After an unbeaten Day One, Miami pulled out a pivotal win against powerhouse Amsterdam HiPRO (NED). They outlasted the full force of a Worthy de Jong onslaught with an even team performance. 

The Americans were hot favorites only to be left heartbroken against Tel-Aviv as Miami remain without a title. 

Former NBA player Fredette was again sensational with 32 points, but it wasn't enough as the pressure starts rising on Miami. 

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Mid-season slump for Ub?

Last season, Ub Huishan NE stormed to four straight titles on the World Tour before having a mid-season slump. Is history repeating itself? 

After topping themselves with six titles to start 2023, Ub have lost quarters in Lausanne and Debrecen to suddenly appear just a little bit vulnerable. 

They didn't have defensive anchor Nemanja Barac here and perhaps the luck is starting to balance out with Ub having lost on buzzer beaters. After such a brutal schedule, maybe Ub are pacing themselves for the business end of the season. 

But it's still strange to see them lose at the quarters in consecutive events. It will be interesting to see how they respond next time around.

Kristaps Dargais take a bow!

This was an insane line-up featuring two of the best dunkers on the planet - Kristaps Dargais and Dmitry 'Smoove' Krivenko. 

Hector Carillo hoped to produce an upset, but it was Dargais who produced a filthy slew of insane dunks to take out the Globus Dunk Contest.

Even though he didn't take the crown, 'Smoove' still produced a filthy slam you just have to watch on a loop. 

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Debrecen is always a delight 

Kossuth Square was rocking as Debrecen delivered one of its best ever events - truly a feat considering the pretty Hungarian city has hosted at least one FIBA 3x3 international event since 2015.

And we don't have to wait long to be back with Debrecen hosting the  FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup on August 30- September 3.


Wilson sponsor logo - WT Debrecen 2023
  • ML sponsor logo - WT Debrecen 2023