Talented Lausanne aim to make statement against 3×3’s best at Lipik Challenger

LIPIK (Croatia) – Lausanne (SUI) will be aiming to showcase their talents against the world’s best at the Lipik Challenger on June 14 and 15.

Ranked No.21 in the world, Lausanne is one of the rising 3×3 teams and will be boosted by the return of 24-year-old star Natan Jurkovitz, who will make his first appearance on the professional circuit since the Lignano Sabbiadoro Challenger almost a year ago.

Jurkovitz is in hot form after winning the Swiss basketball league with Olympic Fribourg earlier this week. His presence is set to spark the seventh seeds who face an early test against powerhouse Ljubljana in a Pool B blockbuster.

The second seeds will continue to be without towering big man Blaz Cresnar, who suffered a leg injury during the Chengdu Masters.

In their first tournament without ‘Birdman’, the Slovenians performed well at the Ulaanbaatar Challenger with a fourth placed finish after losing a thrilling semi-final to eventual champions Zemun (SRB).

If Ljubljana wants to go all the way, they will likely have to go through world No.1 Novi Sad who are in hot form after winning their last 4 tournaments (3 Challengers and 1 Masters).

It’s a deep field in Lipik with 11 of the top 25 teams in the world competing for the title. Humpolec Bernard (CZE) and Vrbas (SRB) round out the top four seeds and the tournament also features Croatian teams Split Statist and Spalato.

The winner in Lipik takes home $15,000 USD and there is $32,000 overall in prize money – a significant increase from $20,000 in challengers last year.

The two top teams will earn tickets for the Saskatoon Masters on July 20-21 in the fourth stop on this season’s FIBA 3×3 World Tour.

Liman (SRB), Amsterdam (NED), Piran (SLO) and Zemun (SRB) have already qualified for the event in Saskatoon.

Follow the Lipik Challenger live on the official FIBA 3×3 YouTube channel.


Zemun claim Ulaanbaatar 3×3 Challenger

ULAANBAATAR (Mongolia) – Zemun (SRB) upstaged Serbian rivals Liman (SRB) to win the Ulaanbaatar Challenger on June 8-9, 2019.

The knockout stages were tough and tight but Zemun proved they had nerves of steel with a thrilling 15-14 victory over Ljubljana (SLO) in the semi-finals.

Underdogs Zemun were keen to make an early statement in the final and big man Nikola Vukovic did just that by playing bully ball inside. It was a tight start but Zemun pulled away with six straight points to grab a 13-6 lead.

Vukovic continued to control the paint, while Marko Dugosija splashed from deep as Zemun looked headed for title glory.

But you just knew Liman would fight back. And they did just that with Mihailo Vasic leading the charge with buckets around the rim and he reduced the margin to 17-15 when he dropped a bomb from downtown.

Zemun appeared to be collapsing but they steadied just in time with a calm Vukovic finishing the job from beyond the arc to trigger celebrations for Zemun.

In the final against world No.2 Liman, Zemun had too much firepower for their fancied opponent and claimed a memorable 21-17 victory.

Zemun and Liman join Novi Sad (SRB), NY Harlem (USA), Piran (SLO) and Princeton (USA) for the Prague Masters on August 3-4.


Novi Sad continue hot streak at Tinkoff Moscow 3×3 Challenger

MOSCOW (Russia) – Novi Sad (SRB) won their 4th event in a row, though Princeton (USA) made them sweat in the final of the Tinkoff Moscow 3×3 Challenger on June 7-8, 2019.

First there was the Penang Challenger, then came the Novi Sad Challenger and the Chengdu Masters: Novi Sad have now won their last 4 events and secured their rank as the number one 3×3 team in the world. They suffered twice in Moscow: first in a scrappy 15-13 win in the quarter-finals against rivals Moscow Inanomo (RUS) and second in a thrilling 21-19 final against Princeton (USA). Novi Sad saw the return of their leader Dusan Bulut, who had the best pass of the tournament (the year so far?).

Marko Savic led all players in key assists and highlights, Dejan Majstorovic finished 4th overall in scoring but it was Tamas Ivosev who won MVP in Moscow after ranking 3rd overall in points, 2nd in rebounds and 1st in blocks.

The final was probably the best game of the tournament, a fast-paced game which had Princeton up 9-7 after just 3 minutes. The 2 teams shot the ball extremely well. Novi Sad only missed 8 shots the entire game (17/25). Eight of their 13 shots inside the arc were assisted. Speaking of passes, Bulut’s crazy pass to an Ivosev 2-pointer helped tie the game. Novi Sad continued a good run and took a commanding 14-11 lead. Princeton responded with a 5-0 run, punctuated by a big 2 from Damon Huffman over Ivosev. Craig Moore buried his 3rd two of the final to give Princeton a 19-17 win and the US team had 5 chances to win the game but the shots stopped falling and the Serbian defense became suffocating. The impeccable 3×3 game of Novi Sad was on full display on the last possession. Bulut stole the ball, found Ivosev behind the arc, who immediately connected with Majstorovic on a perfect backdoor pass for the easy reverse layup.

Novi Sad and Princeton join Liman (SRB), NY Harlem (USA), Piran (SLO) and Zemun (SRB) for the Prague Masters on August 3-4.


Novi Sad back to winning form after claiming FIBA 3×3 World Tour Chengdu Masters

CHENGDU (China) – World No.1 Novi Sad (SRB) won their first Masters of the season after comfortably beating Riga Ghetto (LAT) 21-14 in the final at the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Chengdu Masters on June 2, 2019.

Novi Sad dominated last season’s World Tour but their incredible 35-game winning streak was snapped by Liman in the semi-finals at the Doha Masters in April. But the Serbian powerhouse proved why they are the world’s best by bouncing back in Chengdu to claim the USD 30,000 cheque.

Novi Sad brought their A-game in the final with Dejan Majstorovic continuing his hot form with a game-high 8 points. The event MVP was well supported by Tamas Ivosev, who controlled the paint to finish with 6 points.

It was heartbreak for Riga who were attempting to win their second straight Masters after a memorable triumph in Doha.

In the individual contests, Steve Sir (Edmonton, CAN) not only won the shoot-out, he set a new all-time record with 17 points out of a possible 21. The Canadian sharpshooter cashed in a $5000 cheque for setting the new benchmark, while Australian Brodie Stephens claimed the dunk contest over local favorite Yixun Zhang (CHN).

The 3rd Masters of the season will be played in Mexico City, Mexico on July 6-7, 2019.


Novi Sad claim title in front of their fans at the inaugural Novi Sad Challenger

NOVI SAD (Serbia) – World No.1 Novi Sad (SRB) once again emerged victorious but were pushed all the way by an impressive NY Harlem (USA) at the inaugural Novi Sad Challenger on May 24-25, 2019.

After a shock semi-final exit at the Doha Masters last month, Novi Sad are back to their best with Challenger wins in Penang and at home.

With the world’s #1 player Dusan Bulut back in the fold, Novi Sad cruised to victories in the pool stage before raising their game when it mattered most. They gave Zemun a 21-8 beat down in the semi-finals through hot shooting and then prevailed 21-17 over NY Harlem in a thrilling decider in the mecca of 3×3.

Novi Sad are loaded with star players. Everyone contributes. That’s why they are the best in the world. Dejan Majstorovic, the MVP in Penang, continued his hot form and was equal-second highest scorer of the tournament with 35 points.

The crowd was louder than at your grandma’s hoover, but the Americans were not daunted. Disco Domo put the defenders in a spin cycle as he relentlessly drove to the rim in a tight start.

Novi Sad started to pull away with Savic dropping bombs from downtown to give the home team a 13-9 lead. But NY Harlem wasn’t done yet. Kidani Brutus let it fly from another postcode to get the margin down to one point as another thrilling finish loomed.

With the game on the line, Mr Bullutproof is money. He made three layups to get Novi Sad within striking distance and then Ivosev – who had a game high 8 points – finished it off with a fallaway two as the crowd partied like it was New Year’s Eve.

Novi Sad had already qualified for the third Masters event meaning NY Harlem and Liman won the two tickets.

Riga Ghetto (LAT), Princeton (USA) and Edmonton (CAN) also will play at the Mexico Masters on July 6-7.


Impressive Liman claim title over Amsterdam at the Kunshan 3×3 Challenger

KUNSHAN (China) – Serbian powerhouse Liman (SRB) tasted title success after easily beating Amsterdam (NED) at the fourth 3×3 Challenger of the season in Kunshan, China, on May 18-19, 2019.

The world No.2 had performed well in the absence of superstar Stefan Stojacic but were unable to go all the way, notably at the Doha Masters where the Serbs finished second.

In Kunshan, they were pushed early by Russian team Sosnovy Bor Cop Rosatom 22-18 before impressively raising their game.

Liman got revenge over Pasig Chooks (PHI) with a 22-12 beat down after the Filipinos had beaten them in Doha. They then dominated the knockout stages with Stefan Kojic bringing his own two-piece in the final as Liman thrashed Amsterdam 21-11.

In the continual absence of Stojacic, Liman’s players had to step up. Kojic, the No.8 ranked player in the world, particularly lifted his game and was the leading scorer in the tournament with 41 points.

Kojic was brilliant when it mattered most with 9 points in the quarter-finals against Korolev (RUS) but saved his best for last.

Against Amsterdam, he scored 12 points and became Steph Curry from another postcode connecting on all four of his shots from behind the arc.

Liman were determined not to let the title slip on this occasion. Kojic and Maksim Kovacevic took turns in splashing from deep as the Serbs raced out to a big early lead. It wasn’t just their outside game that dazzled, a pretty spin move in the paint from Mihailo Vasic saw Liman dominate everywhere.

Only a thunderous dunk by Jesper Jobse provided cheer for Amsterdam but this game was never in doubt. Kojic went bang, bang as Liman celebrated a long-awaited triumph.

Liman and Amsterdam won their tickets to the second Masters of the season in Chengdu. The China event is headlined by world No.1 Novi Sad while Riga Ghetto had already qualified as the Latvians aim to win their second straight Masters.


Brave Novi Sad overcome in-form Edmonton to win Penang 3×3 Challenger

PENANG (Malaysia) – A courageous Novi Sad (SRB) were pushed to the limit by in-form Edmonton (CAN) but returned to winning fashion at the third 3×3 Challenger of the season in Penang, Malaysia, on May 11-12, 2019.

The No.1 team in the world had to do it the hard way in the last-minute absence of Dusan Bulut. The three-man lineup of Dejan Majstorovic, Marko Zdero and Marko Savic produced a gutsy performance and overcame an early loss to Edmonton in the pool stage to beat the Canadians in the final.

Much to their delight, Novi Sad thrillingly beat their Serbian rivals Liman (SRB) 21-19 in the quarter-finals in the latest chapter between the two best teams in the world. It was sweet revenge for Novi Sad, whose 35-game winning streak ended at the hands of Liman during last month’s Doha Masters.

Majstorovic reminded everyone why he is ‘The Maestro’ in Malaysia. In the knockout stages, Majstorovic stepped up with a dominant 15 points against Liman, 16 versus Tokyo Dime (JPN) in the semis and then a game-high 9 points in the final.

He was splashing from another postcode but also deadly from inside to deservedly win the MVP after finishing with an incredible 57 points (34 from behind the arc).

The Serbs usually play their best on the big stage and this was no exception as they raced out of the blocks faster than Usain Bolt. Majstorovic continued his hot form with a couple of two-pieces to give Novi Sad a commanding 11-4 lead.

It looked like an easy win until Edmonton found their groove. 25-year-old Jordan Jensen-Whyte played tough defense to force Novi Sad into turnovers. Landry and Jermaine Bucknor feasted inside to get the Canadians within two.

But, fittingly, Majstorovic iced the game at the line to seal Novi Sad’s crown.


Edmonton win Fountask Nanjing 3×3 Challenger

NANJING (China) – The tournament’s number 9 seed Edmonton (CAN) beat all odds to win the 2nd 3×3 Challenger of the season in Nanjing, China on April 20-21, 2019.

The Canadians are one of the brand new teams on the World Tour this season. The squad is the result of the split-up of Team Saskatoon (CAN), who finished 2nd at the World Tour back in 2014: Jordan Baker, Jermaine Bucknor and Steve Sir created Edmonton while Nolan Brudehl, Michael Lieffers and Michael Linklater remained with Team Saskatoon.

The team’s success shouldn’t come as a total surprise as Edmonton reached the semi-finals of the Wuxi Challenger the previous week. In Nanjing, they switched to 6th gear.

Their captain Steve Sir went from Steve Kerr to Steph Curry in Nanjing. The best shooter in the history of NCAA basketball (in percentage) was more of a spot-up or a catch-and-shoot shooter last year. This year, he’s also shooting off the dribble and has more responsibilities with the ball. This translated into an MVP performance, including an event-best 36 points (32 of them coming from behind the arc).

Princeton started the final with the pedal on the gas and jumped to a 6-2 lead after Kareem Maddox converted a free throw. But Steve Sir had been there, done that. The Canadian sniper went unconscious, hitting 3 twos in a row in 90 seconds. leading his team to a 8-nothing-run. He had a game-high 9 points in the final. His team-mate 25-year-old Jordan Jensen-Whyte also scored from behind the arc and gave Edmonton a 19-10 lead with 2’30” to go. The Canadians had a bit of a late-game scare as they did not score after that. Former NBA player Robbie Hummel started finding his range (he also had 4 two-pointers in the game) but Princeton could not complete that come-back and fell 3 points short (16-19).

Edmonton and Princeton won their ticket to the 2nd Masters of the season in Chengdu. They join Novi Sad (SRB) and Ljubljana (SLO) – who qualified based on ranking – and Riga Ghetto (LAT) and Gagarin (RUS), who finished 1 and 2 at the 1st Challenger of the season in Wuxi, China. It’ll be Edmonton’s first-ever trip to the World Tour.


Riga Ghetto claim their first Masters after winning the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Doha Masters

DOHA (FIBA 3×3 World Tour 2019) – Riga Ghetto (LAT) won their first Masters after defeating world No.1 Liman (SRB) 15-14 in a tense final of the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Doha Masters on April 18-19, 2019.

In a spectacular start to the season, it was a hard-fought, low-scoring game but the world No.3 finally tasted glory and were brilliantly led by Karlis Lasmanis who scored an equal game-high 8 points. He hit clutch buckets and deservedly claimed the MVP after leading all scorers with 39 points in the tournament.

Liman were unable to get revenge after losing to Riga Ghetto in the quarter-final of the Bloomage Final in Beijing last year.

Without injured star Stefan Stojacic, Liman had ended rival Novi Sad’s 35-game winning streak with a tough 20-17 victory in a dramatic semi-final.

After the second placed finishes in 2018, the Latvians broke through and also took home the USD 30,000 cheque.

In the individual contests, Stefan Kojic (Liman, SRB) won the shoot-out, while Ukranian Vadim ‘Miller’ Poddubchenko won a thrilling dunk contest over David Carlos from the Philippines.


Riga Ghetto blast competition at Wuxi 3×3 Challenger 2019

WUXI (China) – The number 3 team in the world Riga Ghetto (LAT) won the 1st 3×3 Challenger of the season in Wuxi, China on April 13-14, 2019.

Last year the Latvians were the team that made the most money on the challenger circuit (5 titles, $55,000 in total). The team lived up to the hype in Wuxi with 5 wins in 5 games, including 4 games before the limit.

Their star player Karlis Lasmanis topped all scorers with 39 points (7.8 ppg) and was named MVP of the event. Interestingly the team was playing without their veteran Edgars Krumins. Nauris Miezis was making his official comeback after being sidelined for over a month with a leg injury.

We had an entertaining final in Wuxi (8th fastest game of the tournament). Props to Gagarin for making it a ball game cause it really didn’t look that way after they were down 8-2 and later 17-8. After crazy comeback wins in the quarter and semi-finals, Gagarin once again came from behind. Zuev fueled a 7-0 run with a big 2-pointer with 2 minutes to go to make it a one-possession game. But then Gagarin fell back to Earth. They would not score again. The fans will remember Lasmanis’ double-digit effort in the final (10 points) but Nauris Miezis scored the game-winner and had himself a ball game. He had a very rare triple five with 7 points, 6 highlights (including 5 key assists) and 5 rebounds.

Both Riga Ghetto and Gagarin won their ticket to the 2nd Masters of the season in Chengdu. Novi Sad (SRB) and Ljubljana (SLO) were the only 2 teams to have already clinched a spot in the city of the pandas (based on their ranking). Riga will actually open their World Tour season this week at the Doha Masters. They qualified by winning the 1st edition of the United League Europe in St Petersburg.