What Manila Masters told us about upcoming FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023

MANILA (Philippines) - We're just a week away from FIBA 3x3's biggest national team competition of the year - the World Cup in Vienna on  May 30-June 4.

Let's check in on the temperature of some teams in the aftermath of a thrilling Manila Masters.

Serbia are looking good for a sixth crown

Serbia have absolutely dominated the World Cup with 5 of 7 titles and there is no reason to believe they can't win another. 

The defending champs will start as favorites with Ub Huishan NE having in Manila claimed their second straight Masters to start the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2023. 

Serbia boasts Ub stars Strahinja Stojacic, Dejan Majstorovic and Marko Brankovic who all lit up Manila. MVP Stojacic was in attack mode throughout, while Majstorovic and Brankovic continually made daggers. 

They will arrive in Vienna with swagger and it will take something special to knock off Serbia. 

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Netherlands have a couple of bucket getters

The Netherlands' hopes of a first-ever World Cup title have increased after lights out performances in Manila from walking buckets Dimeo van der Horst and Worthy de Jong. 

Leading his new team Futian (CHN) to the final, van der Horst finished No.1 in points (42) and player value (46.2) as he played air guitar all tournament long. 

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Highlight reel de Jong had the highest average of 9ppg highlighted by a crazy 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 highlights against Futian in a battle against van der Horst. 

In a nightmare for opponents, van der Horst and de Jong will be in tandem and if they simultaneously fire then the Netherlands can seriously dream of the ultimate triumph in Vienna. 

Latvia's awesome foursome will be reunited

It was almost surreal in Manila seeing legendary Riga players Karlis Lasmanis and Nauris Miezis matched up against their long-time teammates Edgars Krumins and Agnis Cavars. 

Superheroes Lasmanis and Miezis won the bragging rights for their new team Beijing, who they led to the semi-finals. Lasmanis was in particularly fine touch to finish third in scoring (32) and player value (34.4), while Miezis as always was a reliable sidekick. 

 Cavars and Krumins helped Riga get out of a tough Pool B before falling to Beijing in the quarters.

These four Latvian stars should all be looking forward to being reunited in Vienna as the four Olympic gold medallists seek to win the one major prize that has eluded them. 

Puerto Rico will be a dark horse contender in Vienna

No.10 seeds San Juan were the surprise packets in Manila after storming into the semi-finals. They did this in the World Tour debuts of their New Gen who have been trusted to take Puerto Rico into a new era. 

Those four players - aged 26 and under - will be playing in Vienna, including sharpshooter Antonio Ralat who produced a star making performance and athletic beast Luis Cuascut. 

Making their performance in Manila even more special was that San Juan had a monster journey comprising four flights to get from Puerto Rico to the Philippines. 

Even though they were tired, San Juan showed boundless energy and passion in a major statement ahead of the World Cup that the new kids on the block have arrived. 

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The brilliant Belgian remains clutch

New colors, same cold-blooded assassin. Ex-Antwerp star Thibaut Vervoort made his World Tour debut for Futian and he did not disappoint to help the Chinese team reach the final. 

Vervoort's most memorable moment was hitting the two-point Maurice Lacroix Buzzer Beater to sink Amsterdam HiPRO to underline why he's one of the best in the business whenever the game is on the line.

There were also his trademark drives and dunks in a nice appetizer of what is ahead in Vienna as Vervoort tries to go one better than last year when Belgium just missed the podium on home soil.

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