Antwerp TOPdesk determined to end title drought at FIBA 3x3 Goa Challenger 2023
GOA (India) - Antwerp Topdesk (BEL) will be aiming to snap a title drought at the FIBA 3x3 Goa Challenger on November 1-2.
The Belgians are one of the favorites in the 12-team field and there are also three tickets available for the Hong Kong Masters, which is the 17th stop on this season's FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
Let's preview all the action.
Let's start with second seeds Antwerp TOPdesk, who have not claimed a title in their last seven events stretching over two months. But the signs were better at the Al Bidda Park Challenger, where the brilliant Belgians finished runners-up.
Dennis Donkor was a two-way menace and he'll be back leading Antwerp's charge, but they face an early test against Podgorica Kodio (MNE) in a Pool C blockbuster.
Podgorica produced one of the most amazing runs in World Tour history when they reached the final at the Constanta Masters from the qualifying draw.
They beat Antwerp in the quarters as part of their purple patch in an upset that will give them confidence in Goa.
They had less success recently with a quarter-final exit at Al Bidda Park, but if Milos Jovanovic can recapture the shooter's touch from Constanta then Podgorica might well go on another magical run.
Top seeds Vienna (AUT) have been in hot form recently capped by winning the Taipei Challenger. Bucket getter Enis Murati received the MVP and he's added potency for Vienna, who appear the team to beat.
Pool D is headlined by the compelling clash between Lausanne Sport LS (SUI) and Paris (FRA). The Swiss are on a roll and have made the semis in back-to-back Masters, but will be tested against Paris who will rely on scoring machine Paul Djoko to be their talisman in Goa.
It's an opportunity to see some different teams take center stage and Zagreb 3BL (CRO) loom as a dark horse. They haven't made much impact on the pro circuit yet, but experienced Dean Popovic is hoping to translate his excellent local form onto the big stage.
There are four Indian teams in the draw and they will be relying on their passionate fans to help ignite giant-killing runs.
The best Indian hope is probably Mumbai Patriots, who have a couple of dudes real ones will know. Legendary Blaz Cresnar aka 'Birdman' will feast in the paint and he should be well fed by long-time Indian star Inderbir Gill, who can deliver nasty dishes.
Pool A: Vienna, Mumbai Pirates (IND), Sagamihara 3BL (JPN)
Pool B: Zagreb 3BL (CRO), Bengaluru INBL (IND), Chennai 3BL (IND)
Pool C: Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL), Podgorica Kodio (MNE), Gurugram 3BL (IND)
Pool D: Lausanne Sport LS (SUI), Paris (FRA), Alula (KSA)
What's at stake
The top 3 teams in Goa will qualify for the Hong Kong Masters on November 25-26 as part of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
How to watch
The two-day extravaganza is on November 1-2 and you can follow it live on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube page.