All we learned from FIBA 3x3 Cebu Masters 2023

CEBU (Philippines) - A new champion was crowned on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2023 as the Cebu Masters on September 23-24 lived up to the hype. 

Let's recap the action. 

Miami end USA's long World Tour drought

Mighty hoops nation USA wanted to do something about their lean run on the World Tour. Since Princeton won in 2019, no American team tasted victory in 2020-22. 

So Miami was formed and they loaded up with players who double as Team USA. The headliner, of course, was collegiate legend and former NBA player Jimmer Fredette, who has shot the lights out in his debut season but that hasn't led to titles. 

Miami quickly found out that the World Tour is tough as they went seven events without a title. But they started improving and you sensed this was the moment where Miami was going to break the drought. 

The Americans did exactly that with an unbeaten run in Cebu, including overcoming a murderer's row on Day 2 where they knocked out San Juan (PUR), Ub Huishan NE (SRB) and Vienna (AUT) in an unforgettable final.

Fredette brought 'Jimmer Mania' to Cebu with an MVP performance yielding 44 points and a top-value of 50.1.

It wasn't a one-man show though with Canyon Barry and Kareem Maddox also all buckets, while Dylan Travis played hardnose D throughout including a clutch steal late against Vienna.

The Americans finally ended a four-year drought for USA on the World Tour , but you feel it won't be long until Miami celebrates another title.

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Vienna aren't far away

After experiencing a first World Tour title in 2022, hopes were high of more success this season for Vienna.

But they've been titleless in 2023 and remain without a dub although Vienna are getting closer after their best run of the season in Cebu. 

Vienna were unbeaten until the final, including a thrilling victory over powerhouse Amsterdam HiPRO (NED) in the semis thanks to a Maurice Lacroix Buzzer Beater from star Quincy Diggs

The American Diggs had plenty of help with Matthias Linortner a walking bucket, while speedy Nico Kaltenbrunner continually blew by defenders. 

But it was Enis Murati, who gave them a spark in his World Tour debut as he proved a force alongside Diggs in the paint. 

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Is it time to worry for Ub?

After their record six straight Masters titles to start 2023, Ub haven't even reached the final in their last three attempts on the World Tour. 

Their standards are ridiculously high, so anything other than a title feels like a disappointment. Even without defensive anchor Nemanja Barac, Ub looked the goods as they eyed a second triumph in the Philippines this season after winning in Manila.

Top-ranked Strahinja Stojacic was again magnificent with 33 points in 4 games, but superstar teammates Marko Brankovic and Dejan Majstorovic were unusually quiet. 

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Amsterdam HiPRO again fall short

When Quincy Diggs drove down the lane and nailed the game-winning floater, Jan Driessen slammed the Wilson onto the half-court in frustration.

You couldn't blame him because Amsterdam's winless steak on the World Tour stretched to eight events. They again looked formidable by getting out of the 'Group of Death' after beating San Juan and Paris (FRA) on Day One.

The Dutch Masters knocked out Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL) in a relief having fallen at the quarters five times this season. But Amsterdam couldn't continue the momentum as their tournament ended without the title they so desperately craved.

It wasn't all gloomy with superstar Worthy de Jong again spectacular with 40 points from 4 games, while Driessen delivered one of the plays of the tournament by putting Luis Cuascut on a poster with a monster two-handed jam.

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Tallo puts on a show for his home fans

The fans at SM Seaside City had eyes on one man - Manila Chooks (PHI) magician Mac Tallo, who did not disappoint as he tapped into his deep bag of tricks. 

'Spidaa' had opponents in his web with nasty moves, including step back twos and dishing out nasty dimes. But the hometown hero's best moment was when he sunk a two-pointer to lift Manila past Futian (CHN) and into Day Two. 

The fans were so loud that it was a miracle the roof of the SM Seaside City did not blow off!

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Cebu has the most passionate fans on the planet 

You know what to expect when going to hoops-crazy the Philippines. No matter what type of court it's played on, the Filipinos will watch ball and they came out in droves for the Cebu Masters. 

The sequel was even better than the original as the second edition of the Cebu Masters was filled with the craziest atmosphere imaginable at the SM Seaside City. 

The fans were super loud, but also knowledgeable of 3x3 as they appreciated all the twists and turns of this memorable event. 

We can't wait to return to Cebu although our eardrums may need time to recover!

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