Unstoppable Ub Huishan NE aim to maintain stranglehold over rivals at FIBA 3x3 Belgrade Challenger 2023
BELGRADE (Serbia) - Unbeatable Ub Huishan NE (SRB) will aim to continue their remarkable form when they step on home soil at the FIBA 3x3 Belgrade Challenger on August 11-12.
The No.1 seeds headline a loaded 16-team draw and there are also three tickets available for the Amsterdam Masters, which is the 11th stop on this season's FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
Let's preview all the action.
Obviously we'll start with Ub Huishan NE - maybe the GOAT - after winning their sixth straight Masters of the season in Prague to enter the record books.
They are an unbelievable 29 of 30 on the World Tour in the greatest show on earth that only Taylor Swift's tour might rival.
Ub will be extra pumped up on return to home soil and welcome back superstar Marko Brankovic in what will be a full-strength line-up for them.
So should we just hand them the title? Not so fast. Ub haven't quite been as dominant in Challengers having won one title from five events this season.
And there are plenty of rivals no doubt completely tired of Ub having all the glory.
No.2 seeds Amsterdam HiPRO (NED) will be extra determined having fallen in Prague and Edmonton at the quarters.
But they are looking for a three-peat of Challenger titles, which will be made harder without excitement machine Worthy de Jong placing more burden on new kid on the block Maarten Bouwknecht.
Third seeds Liman Huishan NE (SRB) are always highly competitive, but have also hit some speed humps recently.
Explosive Chinese player Ning Zhang returns and will hope to help lead Liman to a second Challenger title of the season.
Riga (LAT) are inching closer to a first title of the season after a runners-up finish in Prague, where dynamo Miroslav Pasajlic continued his purple patch.
The walking bucket threatens to create a heat wave in his homeland, but Riga will be tested early against Partizan (SRB), who have won two Challengers this season and unveiled new sensations Stefan Torbica and Stefan Milivojevic.
We'll start with Hangzhou (CHN), who are a team on the rise and already made their mark by winning the Poitiers Challenger.
Serbs Vladimir Trajkovic and Goran Vidovic are new 3x3 stars and Hangzhou will feel confident of getting through Pool A, but their chances probably hinge on beating NY Harlem (USA).
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Real ones don't need the lowdown on the legendary New Yorkers, but it will once again be a thrill to see Dominique Jones aka 'Disco Domo' make the half-court his personal dancefloor.
Utrecht (NED) and Versaille (FRA) have both made semis on this season's pro circuit and can't be discounted, while Swiss teams Lausanne and Fribourg loom as dark horses if they can make it through qualifying.
Pool A: Ub Huishan NE (SRB), NY Harlem (USA), Hangzhou (CHN)
Pool B: Amsterdam HiPRO (NED), Versailles (FRA), Qualifier
Pool C: Liman Huishan NE (SRB), Utrecht (NED), Bordeaux Ballistik (FRA)
Pool D: Riga (LAT), Partizan (SRB), Qualifier
What's at stake
The top 3 teams in Belgrade will qualify for the Amsterdam Masters on October 6-7, 2023, as part of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
How to watch
The two-day extravaganza is on August11-12 and you can follow it live on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube page