Liman do it again, win Chengdu 3×3 Challenger

CHENGDU (3×3 Challengers) – Liman (SRB) maintained their early season torrid pace by dominating Vitez EcosRomari (BIH) (19-17) in the final of the Chengdu 3×3 Challenger on May 26-27, 2018.

The number two 3×3 team won their 2nd challenger of the season after their success in Wuxi and became the first team to qualify for 5 World Tour Masters this season (Saskatoon, Utsunomiya, Prague, Chengdu and Kuala Lumpur).

The young Serbian team went undefeated in Chengdu but were given a few scares along the way, in a quarter-final overtime thriller against Belgrade (SRB) and in the final against Vitez.

In the championship game, the surprising Vitez – missing their star player Zeljko Palavra – looked Liman right in the eyes and the score was tied at 6, 11 and then again 13. One of the main reasons was former Kranj (SLO) player Sinisa Stemberger who was on a heat check for 2 full days. The Croatian sharpshooter topped all scorers in China.

Liman star Stefan Stojacic struggled at times in Chengdu but he was decisive in the last minute of the championship game with 2 strong drives with 1 minute and 23 seconds to go.

Both finalists won a ticket to the opening World Tour event of the season: the Saskatoon Masters, which will take place on July 28-29.

Two historic teams confirmed their early season woes: both Ljubljana (SLO) and Belgrade (SRB) disappeared in the quarter-finals. Neither of them have been able to stamp a new World Tour ticket since the season started.

Seven of the Top 20 teams in the world and a total of 16 teams from 10 different countries competed at the Chengdu Challenger.

The next Challengers will take place in The Hague, Netherlands and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on June 2-3.

Final Standings:

  1. Liman (SRB)
  2. Vitez EcosRomari (BIH)
  3. Ulaanbaatar (MGL)
  4. Ulaanbaatar (MGL)
  5. Amsterdam Inoxdeals (NED)

Top Scorers:

  1. Sinisa Stemberger (Vitez EcosRomari) 37 pts
  2. Delgernyam Davaasambuu (Ulaanbaatar) 28 pts, Matic Urbas (Kranj) 28 pts
  3. Stefan Stojacic (Liman) 27 pts, Mihailo Vasic (Liman) 27 pts



Vitez Ecos Romari facing difficulties

Palavra skips season due to thrombosis, Bambur 3 months out for tendon injury.

This year’s 3×3 season could not start up worse for team Vitez, currently best ranked team from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their best player and leader of the team Željko Palavra will miss the season due to deep vein thrombosis diagnosed at the hospital in Nova Bila.
Željko Palavra, a member of the basketball team Kakanj which participated in this year’s Bosnia and Herzegovina basketball league playoffs, had just returned to the court after knee injury.

Two games played with thrombosis

„After the game and the massage, the muscles of my limbs were swollen, and people in the club thought the muscles had been damaged. As the pain was getting stronger I went to a medical examination where ultrasound was done by doctors to determine thrombosis. I have played two games in this condition and I’ve had a lot of luck.
I’ll have to be at the hospital for a few more days, strictly resting,“ said Palavra, currently ranked 40th at the FIBA 3×3 Players Ranking.

Palavra is aware that the diagnosis is not good or encouraging.

“Well, it seems that it’s time for me to skip one year after almost 10 consecutive basketball and streetball seasons. I hope it will only be one year, but the priority now for me is to start walking first and then to gradually and qualitatively recover.
I’m sorry I will not have the chance to play at the Lipik Challenger this year, because of the beatiful memories associated with Lipik and the people involved in the tournament. At the same time, reliving that unforgettable emotion in Lipik is an additional motivation for me to return to the court,“ said Palavra.

Adi Bambur injured

As if the problems with Palavra were not enough, Adi Bambur was injured and will pause for at least three months due to tendon injury.
The new unfavorable circumstances determine the plans and goals of team Vitez for this year’s 3×3 season. However, as Ranko Križanović points out – there will be no withdrawal!

„Of course these circumstances had disrupted us, but we will try to get the maximum out of this season. The new member of our team is Nedim Mustafica, an excellent player who will bring additional quality to our team. We are negotiating with Siniša Štemberger who is also interested in joining us,“ said Križanović.

Siniša Štemberger is currently ranked 30th at the FIBA 3×3 Players Ranking.
Nedim Mustafica (26 years old, 200 cm), played for a number of 3×3 teams last season. Among others, he was a member of the Croatian team Zagreb at the tournaments held in Pale and Stara Gradiška.

Team Vitez Ecos Romari is currently ranked 11th at the FIBA 3×3 Team Ranking. They were a big surprise at the Lipik Challenger 2016 with their first appearance in the Challenger Final which led them to the Prague Masters where they were defeated by team Saskatoon in the semi final.
Last year they had won their first Challenger in Odense, Denmark.

Moscow Challenger

“We plan to participate 4 or 5 Challengers this season and hopefully qualify for a few Wourld Tour Masters events. We had received an invitation for the Moscow Challenger, and we will probably play in The Hague and Ulaanbaatar too.
Of course, we hope for a chance to perform in Lipik for which we are attached by beautiful memories. As for the goals, we would be very pleased to finish the season in the Top 10 teams,“ Križanović concludes.
Photo: Petar Glebov/Pixsell