Resurgent Saskatoon win Hang Zhou 3×3 Challenger

HANG ZHOU (3×3 Challengers) – Saskatoon bounced back after defeating The Hague (NED) 21-9 in the final of the Hang Zhou 3×3 Challenger on June 16-17, 2018.

There were high expectations for Michael Linklater and his 3 Saskatoon teammates as they represented Canada at the FIBA 3×3 World Cup earlier this month, especially after they had a perfect 4-0 record in the pool phase. But the tournament ended abruptly with a quarter final loss against the Netherlands.

Team Saskatoon proved that setback would not affect the rest of their 3×3 season as they won their 2nd Challenger of the season (after their win in GoYang, South Korea).

After stuttering on their opener (a 13-18 loss to Ralja Intergalactic), the Canadians won their next 4, with 2 wins against Top 10 teams in the world (Riga (LAT) and Kranj (SLO)).

After breaking the rim at the dunk contest, Michael Lieffers aka ‘Maple Lief’ gave Saskatoon a lift in a one-sided 21-9 in the final against a surprising The Hague team, which beat last year’s World Tour winners Zemun (SRB) in pool play.

Both Saskatoon and The Hague won a pass to the World Tour Chengdu Masters, which will take place on September 29-30. This will mark The Hague’s first World Tour appearance with this roster. Saskatoon had already secured a spot for the Saskatoon Masters by winning the GoYang Challenger.

Liman Tesla Voda (SRB), Riga (LAT), Moscow Inanomo (RUS) and Ulaanbaatar (MGL) are the other 4 teams who have already stamped their ticket to the Chengdu Masters.

Eight of the Top 20 teams in the world (including 4 from the Top 10) and a total of 16 teams from10 different countries competed in Hang Zhou.

The next Challenger will be held in Lipik, Croatia on June 22-23.