Everything you need to know before FIBA 3x3 World Tour Manila Masters 2023
MANILA (Philippines) - The FIBA 3x3 World Tour returns to the fan favourite Manila Masters as the action goes into overdrive on May 20-21.
Here is all the important information you need before the second Masters of 2023.
Where can I watch the Manila Masters?
Who is competing in Manila?
This loaded draw has a total of 12 squads: Ub Huishan NE, Riga, Amsterdam HiPRO, Sansar MMC Energy, Beijing, Futian, Dusseldorf LFDY, Utsunomiya BREX EXE, Manila Chooks, San Juan, Tsukuba ALBORADA, Al Wakrah
What are the pools?
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Who are the favorites?
It wouldn't be right if we didn't start with the defending champs and No.1 seeds Ub Huishan NE, who showed they are out to dominate another season after winning the FIBA 3x3 Utsunomiya Opener.
They once again bring together their awesome foursome and love playing in hoops-crazy Philippines having memorably won Manila Masters 2022.
But these spectacular Serbs will be challenged in a tough field boasting a few teams unleashing their new line-ups.
Of most interest are Chinese teams Beijing and Futian, who mean business after recruiting major superstars.
Beijing boasts former Riga superheroes Karlis Lasmanis and Nauris Miezis, while Futian have ex-Amsterdam star Dimeo van der Horst and Thibaut Vervoort formerly of Antwerp.
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These Chinese teams have already looked the goods on the pro circuit but it will be fascinating to see how they fare against the very best teams on the biggest of stages.
Amsterdam HiPRO (NED) and Riga (LAT) might look different but they have also reloaded and you just can't count them out of the title race.
After a stunning semi-final run in Utsunomiya, Sansar MMC Energy (MGL) will arrive with swag and so too youthful San Juan (PUR), who made an early statement by winning the FIBA 3x3 Lausanne Super Quest 2023.
Hometown heroes Manila Chooks (PHI), in-form Utsunomiya BREX EXE (JPN) and dangerous Dusseldorf LFDY (GER) loom as dark horse contenders.
Who are the players to watch?
You know the drill. We're gonna list Strahinja Stojacic first until someone knocks the No.1 player off his throne.
Even after dominating 2022, 'Doctor Strange' still is motivated to keep getting better and he blew away the competition in Utsunomiya to walk off with the MVP.
His partner-in-crime Dejan Majstorovic loves putting on a show for the Filipino fans as he did last year to win the MVP, so expect this legend to have the shooter's roll.
Talking about duos, pick your poison - Beijing's Lasmanis and Miezis or Futian's Vervoort and van der Horst?
There are many established superstars, but the New Gen are making their mark led by Sansar MMC Energy's Anand Ariunbold, whose hot shooting might cause a typhoon in Manila.
We can't wait for San Juan to unleash their young guns led by athletic Luis Cuascut, who might go toe-to-toe with Amsterdam's Worthy de Jong for the most insane plays.
Speaking of ridiculous highlights, Philippines' best player Mac Tallo is a lock to do something crazy but he's not the only one.
Miroslav Pasajlic and Yosuke Saito can also make the Wilson talk so don't keep your eyes off them.
It's going to be another memorable Manila Masters in front of some of the most passionate 3x3 fans in the world.