Riga return to winning ways at Cedevita Lipik 3×3 Challenger

LIPIK (3×3 Challengers) – It took them over 2 months but Riga (LAT) finally won their 2nd Challenger of the season after edging out (21-18) Humpolec Bernard (CZE) in the final of the Cedevita Lipik 3×3 Challenger in Croatia on June 22-23, 2018.

After dropping their opener against local favorites Split Statist (CRO), it looked like the bad streak was about to continue for the young Latvian team. After winning the Nanjing Challenger in April, Riga missed 3 straight opportunities to qualify for the World Tour in Moscow, The Hague and Hang Zhou.

Moscow must have been on their mind during the final in Lipik. Riga were in control, up 20-17 in the semi-finals when Ondrej Siska hit back-to-back 2-pointers to win the game for Humpolec Bernard in the Russian capital.

But this time around, Riga did not let the Czech star get hot and tournament MVP Karlis Lasmanis finished things off from close range in the title game.

Riga took home 10,000 USD, Humpolec 6,000 and both teams stamped their ticket to the World Tour Lausanne Masters.

Riga now have secured 3 Masters this season (including Saskatoon and Chengdu, based on ranking ). For Humpolec, the number is already 4 (including Utsunomiya, Prague and Debrecen).

No team on the professional circuit has been more on fire than Humpolec in the last 2 months. They earned a ticket to the World Tour in each one of the Challengers they played this season. The Czechs finished 2nd in Wuxi, Moscow, Lipik and won in Limassol last week.

Five teams from the Top 10 and 5 more from the Top 20 competed in Croatia over the weekend.

The next Challengers will be held in Kaunas and Vieques on June 30 – July 1.

Final Standings:

  1. Riga (LAT)
  2. Humpolec Bernard (CZE)
  3. Belgrade (SRB)
  4. Split Statist (CRO)
  5. Nice (FRA)

Top Scorers:

  1. Karlis Lasmanis (Riga) 38 pts
  2. Ondrej Siska (Humpolec Bernard) 35 pts
  3. Ivan Popovic (Belgrade) 34 pts
  4. Roman Zachrla (Humpolec Bernard) 32 pts
  5. Ivan Rasetina (Split Statist) 30 pts

Photo: Goran Stanzl/PIXSELL


Humpolec finally over the hump at Limassol 3×3 Challenger

LIMASSOL (3×3 Challengers) – Humpolec Bernard (CZE) won their first-ever 3×3 Challenger after a dramatic comeback win against Liman Tesla Voda (SRB) in the final of the Limassol 3×3 Challenger on June 16-17, 2018.

Down 11-15 with 90 seconds to go, the number 1 team in Czech Republic look doomed to get their 3rd second-place finish in a row in a challenger this season. After all, the team had reasons to celebrate: the 2 best teams in each challenger get a ticket to a FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters. And Humpolec Bernard had already secured a spot to Debrecen after Utsunomiya and Prague.

But this time Humpolec finally got over the hump. The new guy on the team Vladimir Sismilich curled to the 2-point arc and launched a perfect shot that the windy beaches of Limassol couldn’t stop.

Though Liman Tesla Voda lost 4,000 USD on this miracle shot, they didn’t lose everything on Cyprus Hill. They can take solace in becoming the first team this season to qualify for 6 World Tour Masters! Get ready to see a lot of Stefan Stojacic this season. He’s expected to play in Saskatoon, Utsunomiya, Prague, Debrecen, Chengdu and Kuala Lumpur.

Novi Sad (SRB) and Kranj (SLO) are the only other 2 squads who have already qualified to the Debrecen Masters, which will take place on August 30-31.

Six of the Top 15 teams in the world and a total of 16 teams from 12 different countries competed in Cyprus.

For the first time this season, 2 French teams made it to the knock-out stage as Nice finished 4th and Paris LCG 5th overall.

The tournament also featured player, MC, commentator Dora Panteli, who will represent the Greek women’s national team at the FIBA 3×3 Europe Cup Andorra Qualifier this weekend.

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



New kids on the block Team Gagarin win Tinkoff Moscow Open 3×3 Challenger

MOSCOW (3×3 Challengers) – An U23 team – Gagarin (RUS) – shocked the world by beating Humpolec Bernard (CZE) (20-18) in the final of the Tinkoff Moscow Open 3×3 Challenger on May 18-19, 2018.

It was Space Jam 2.0 in Gorky Park with Team Gagarin (RUS) bouncing back from an opening loss to Novi Sad (SRB) in the pool phase to win the next 4 and put a soaked wet Russian crowd on fire.

The #15 seed upset 3 Top 20 teams in the world in the knock-out rounds, between Split Statist (CRO) in the quarter-finals, Princeton (USA) in the semi-finals and Humpolec Bernard (CZE) in the final.

Alex Antonikovskii, 23 years old. Stanislav Sharov, 22 years old. Daniil Abramovskii, 21 years old. Alexander Zuev, 21 years old. A team of kids won one of the most prestigious and loaded Challengers of the season. The youngest of them all (Zuev) was just unstoppable in Gorky Park. He finished 3rd in scoring and was named MVP of the tournament.

In the final, tournament top scorer Ondrej Siska – who was phenomenal in the semi-finals against Riga (LAT) – carried Humpolec Bernard to an early lead.

In fact, the Czechs were up almost the entire game. Gagarin took their 1st lead with 15-14 on the scoreboard. With the game tied at 16, Zuev buried a big-time step-back 2-pointer. 2014 Youth Olympic Games player Abramovskii extended the lead with a strong drive to the basket. Humpolec star Roman Zachrla’s had a chance to send the game to overtime at the buzzer but missed a desperation shot.

Both finalists stamped a ticket to the World Tour Prague Masters, which will take place on August 4-5. This will mark Gagarin’s first-ever trip to the top event of the 3×3 professional circuit. Humpolec are no stranger to the World Tour. They competed at the World Tour Final last season and had already stamped their ticket to the Utsunomiya Masters 2018 after finishing 2nd at the Wuxi Challenger earlier this season.

It wasn’t a good weekend for the Serbian teams. World Tour 2017 winners Zemun were eliminated in the pool stage and the number one 3×3 team in the world Novi Sad missed out on a World Tour ticket for the 4th time this season after losing to Riga (LAT) in the quarter-finals.

Seven of the Top 20 teams in the world and a total of 16 teams from 8 different countries played at the Tinkoff Moscow Open Challenger.

The next Challenger will take place in Chengdu, China on May 26-27.

Final Standings:

  1. Gagarin (RUS)
  2. Humpolec Bernard (CZE)
  3. Princeton (USA)
  4. Riga (LAT)
  5. Novi Sad (SRB)

Top Scorers:

  1. Ondrej Siska (Humpolec Bernard) 37 pts
  2. Dan Mavraides (Princeton) 36 pts
  3. Alexander Zuev (Gagarin) 36 pts
  4. Roman Zachrla (Humpolec Bernard) 31 pts
  5. Nauris Miezis (Riga) 26 pts



Liman open season with Wuxi 3×3 Challenger win

WUXI (3×3 Challenger) – Liman (SRB) won the Wuxi 3×3 Challenger after beating Humpolec Bernard (CZE) 22-14 in the final in Wuxi, China on May 5-6, 2018.

For their first appearance on the pro circuit this year, Liman were impressive, ending up with a clean 5-0 record, with 4 of these wins coming before the limit. Last year’s World Tour regular season MVP Stefan Stojacic picked up where he left off: the 29-year-old led all scorers in Wuxi with 38 points.

In the final, Liman jumped off to a 9-1 win on a Stojacic long bomb. Humpolec crawled back in the game and made it a 3-possession game (11-16) with 2 minutes to go. But the Serbs continued to fire from behind the arc and Stojacic swished one last 2-pointer for the win.

With this win, Liman qualify for the Utsunomiya Masters, their 3rd World Tour event for the season already. Based on ranking, they already earned a ticket to the Chengdu and Prague Masters.

Humpolec may have lost the final but they had reasons to celebrate. Coming to China as the 16th team in the world, they upset the number 1 team overall and 2-time World Tour winners Novi Sad (SRB) in the semi-finals in a 21-20 thriller. They stamped their ticket to the Utsunomiya Masters (their first guaranteed World Tour event this year) and moved up to the 12th spot in the FIBA 3×3 Team Ranking after the event. Oh and their star player Roman Zachrla took home the MVP trophy!

Next challenger this weekend in Huaian, China (May 12-13) with Liman, Novi Sad, Ljubljana (SLO) and Belgrade (SRB) – in other words, 4 of the top 8 teams in the world.

Final Standings:

  1. Liman (SRB)
  2. Humpolec Bernard (CZE)
  3. Novi Sad (SRB)
  4. Khovd (MGL)
  5. Moscow Inanomo (RUS)

Top Scorers:

  1. Stefan Stojacic (Liman) 38 pts
  2. Dusan Bulut (Novi Sad) 34 pts
  3. Stefan Kojic (Liman) 32 pts
  4. Dejan Majstorovic (Novi Sad) 29 pts
  5. Roman Zachrla (Humpolec) 29 pts