Partizan produce powerful performance at FIBA 3x3 Lublin Challenger 2023

LUBLIN (Poland) - Partizan (SRB) continued their strong form on the FIBA 3x3 pro circuit after taking out the Lublin Challenger.

Here's what happened.

The winners: Partizan (SRB)

They were: No.1 most points, best shooting value and fewest points allowed

After claiming their fourth title in style, Partizan have been one of the best teams on the pro circuit this season. 

The Serbs recovered from a tough Day One defeat to Omaha (USA) and dominated the knockout stages with convincing wins over powerhouses Beijing (CHN) and Liman Huishan NE (SRB).

In the decider, Partizan overcame emerging compatriots Pirot (SRB) to celebrate another title. Their next challenge will be translating this form onto the World Tour, where they have fallen at the quarters at two Masters this season. 

Partizan again were led by star newcomers Stefan Milivojevic and Stefan Torbica, who sizzled with a combined 72 points. 

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The runner's up: Pirot (SRB)

Here is a team quickly making its mark. After making the semis in Samobor, Pirot went a step further after a dazzling run in Lublin.

They did it the hard way having emerged from the qualifying draw and only just after outlasting Plunge (LTU) in an OT classic.

But they appeared to be running out of gas with an opening loss to Partizan before Pirot found more energy.

They thrashed Omaha to reach the knockouts, where Pirot beat Marijampole Mantinga (LTU) in an OT thriller before defeating Lausanne (SUI) in the semis. 

Pirot were superbly led by walking bucket Dusan Filipovic, who poured in a leading 41 points. 

They fell short of a first title, but there is a lot to like over another highly talented Serb team. 

Mr Crossover: OGs will well remember Dragan Bjelica, who has the much-loved nickname 'Mr Crossover' because of his ability to break ankles like no other.

He remains the ultimate entertainer on the half-court, proving he has lost none of that old magic. The former Belgrade star finished No.1 in highlights (25) and key assists (11). 


The Final: Partizan 21-Pirot 17

It was a Serbian showdown and a rematch of Day One, where Partizan emerged victorious.

Pirot were running on fumes from the qualifying draw, but kept pace early through Aleksandar Nikolic dominating the paint. 

But Partizan had their own beast inside with Marko Stevanovic slamming home as little separated the teams. Nokolic responded with a two-handed throw down of his own as the tension started to heighten.

The game started to open up as both teams tired, but Dragan Bjelica used his trademark speed to burst to the rim and level the scores with just over two minutes left. 

Someone needed to step up with the title up for grabs. And it was sniper Stefan Milivojevic who proved the hero as he put on his cape to score eight points in just two minutes and clinch the title for Partizan. 

Milivojevic confirmed his superstar credentials with a game-high 10 points to walk off with the MVP.


The reward: Three tickets to the Abu Dhabi Masters

Partizan, Pirot and Lausanne received tickets and joined Manila Chooks and Wuxi as the teams qualified to the Abu Dhabi Masters on October 28-29.

Final Standings:
1. Partizan (SRB)
2. Pirot (SRB)
3. Lausanne (SUI)
4. Liman Huishan NE (SRB)
5. Marijampole Mantinga (LTU)

Top Scorers:
1. Dusan Filipovic (Pirot, SRB) 41 pts
2. Stefan Milivojevic (Partizan, SRB) 39 pts
3. Dusan Bulut (Lausanne, SUI), 37 pts
4. Stefan Kojic (Liman Huishan NE, SRB) 33 pts
5. Stefan Torbica (Partizan, SRB), 33 pts

Key Stats:
- Top seeds Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL) and Beijing (CHN) fell in the quarters 
- 3x3 legend Dusan Bulut had a stellar comeback in his return since the Tokyo Olympics, finishing third in points (37) and player value (33.4) in his debut for Lausanne. 
- Liman Huishan NE (SRB) sniper Stefan Kojic produced one of the games of the tournament with a triple-five of 10 points, 5 rebounds and 6 highlights to take down Antwerp in the quarters.