All we learned from FIBA 3x3 World Tour Shanghai Masters 2023

SHANGHAI (China) - History was made when Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL) became the first Mongolian team to triumph on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour after winning the first-ever Shanghai Masters

Let's recap the action.

Magnificent Mongolians

Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy have been a fan favorite for years and helped inspire Mongolia's love affair with 3x3, where it is the most popular team sport in the East Asian country. 

While they've previously tasted success on the pro circuit, Ulaanbaatar have continuously come up short on the World Tour. 

But they had been consistent this season, including a semi-final finish in Macau. You knew they were close and their dreams were realized in spectacular fashion in Shanghai during an unbeaten campaign. 

After squeezing past rising Partizan (SRB) in their opener, Ulaanbaatar were irresistible on Day Two culminating in an epic win over Liman Huishan NE (SRB) in the final. 

It triggered wild celebrations for the Ulaanbaatar players and you just know it was matched by scenes of jubilation back home in Mongolia. 

Sharpshooter Steve Sir was a fitting MVP and it was reward for the Canadian legend, who has helped lift Mongolian 3x3 up a level since taking the reins as a player-coach.

Ulaanbaatar finally broke through on the World Tour and October 15, 2023, is a date that will always be remembered fondly for Mongolian 3x3 fans. 

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Ning Zhang lights up Shanghai 

There was disappointment for the trio of highly-fancied Chinese teams, who all exited before the semis. 

But the fans had reason to cheer with Chinese star Ning Zhang putting on a show to lead Liman to the brink of a title. 

The 26-year-old has shown glimpses of his powerful game before, but it all materialized spectacularly in Shanghai with Ning Zhang dominating the stats to finish No.1 in points (49), player value (57.6) and rebounds (23). 

Liman have long been built around their legendary duo of Stefan Kojic and Mihailo Vasic. But now they have a three-headed monster with the emergence of the dynamic Ning Zhang.

Antananarivo and Omaha shock in Shanghai 

This tournament was full of surprises, but none bigger than Antananarivo (MAD) shocking the world to make the semis. 

It was the best ever result by an African team on the World Tour with Antananarivo making it into Day Two by knocking out fan favorite Futian (CHN). 

They weren't done with the upsets after they stunned top seeds Vienna (AUT) in the quarters through a Maurice Lacroix buzzer beater from Elly Randriamampionona before running out of gas to Ulaanbaatar in the semis. 

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Omaha (USA) made a statement with a semi-final run and also had to do it the hard way after only just squeezing into Day Two when James Parrott sunk the Maurice Lacroix buzzer beater to down Utrecht (NED). 

The ninth seeds then upset Beijing (CHN) before their run ended to Liman in the semis. 

Scoring machine James Parrott announced himself as a walking bucket with a lights out performance with 33 points and there was no better show in Shanghai with the American finishing No.1 in highlights (24). 

Beijing's World Tour drought continues

There was a lot of expectation over Beijing, who were flying the Chinese flag as the country's most likely title contender. 

But Beijing again fell short on the World Tour after their defeat to Omaha. It had started so promisingly on Day One after a remarkable comeback victory over Futian (CHN). 

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But the momentum didn't carry over to Day Two despite an insane performance from Chinese star Yuanbo Zhu, who scored 27 points in just 3 games. 

He made up for the absence of superhero Karlis Lasmanis, but it wasn't enough with Beijing now titleless from five Masters events. 

Shanghai was sick 

The world famous global city of Shanghai proved a fitting venue for the fast-paced game of 3x3. 

The Shanghai Yongfeng Art Pastoral Scenic Area was the place to be on October 14-15 and the biggest party in town with the fans making so much noise that it felt like Chinese New Year. 

The first-ever Shanghai Masters was a major success and we can't wait to journey back to this intoxicating city.