Tough task ahead for defending champs Novi Sad Al Wahda after FIBA 3x3 World Tour Prague Masters seedings
PRAGUE (2015 FIBA 3x3 World Tour) - Fresh off a startling win at the Manila Masters, Team Novi Sad Al Wahda return to Prague, a familiar destination. The Czech capital is where the reigning FIBA 3x3 World Tour champs won and earned their ticket to the Final the last two seasons. They will however face a tough challenge as early as the pool phase, competing against two teams who of the very few teams who have defeated them in the last two years.
Like it is the case in all FIBA 3x3 competitions, the seeding is conducted automatically according to the 3x3 individual World ranking (of the three best players from each team). With Novi Sad Al Wahda featuring the top four players in the world including the brand new number one Dejan Majstorovic, the defending champs claimed the first seed and according to the regulations, set to meet the number eight and nine seeds in Pool A.
|POOL A||POOL B||POOL C||POOL D|
|1. Novi Sad Al Wahda (UAE)||2.Trbovlje (SLO)||3.Kranj (SLO)||4.Belgrade (SRB)|
|8.Leningrad (RUS)||7.Ub (SRB)||6.Kolobrzeg (POL)||5.Amsterdam (NED)|
|9.Ostrava (CZE)||10.Cremona (ITA)||11.Psychiko (GRE)||12.Paris (FRA)|
As much as Majstorovic’s team knows the venue, they won’t feel as much at home as Team Ostrava. The only Czech team at the event are back for the third time at the event and Filip Zbranek and Roman Zachrla will surely remember Novi Sad Al Wahda in the pool phase of the 2013 Prague Masters. No need to turn back the clock so long to see Leningrad beat the champions. Only two weeks ago, the Russian team defeated Novi Sad Al Wahda in the quarter-finals of the Moscow Open, maybe the most prestigious FIBA 3x3 World Tour Qualifier. Leningrad (named after the old name of St. Petersburg since another World Tour team holds this name already) will be one of the main contenders in Prague, featuring two players who help Russia win the 3x3 event at the European Games in Baku on 23-26 June.
A total of three teams who competed in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final last season will play in Prague with Pool B featuring Trbovlje (SLO). The squad led by former number one 3x3 player in the world Simon Finzgar will face a Serbian team from Ub, a small city just outside Belgrade and the winners of the Italian Quest, coming from Cremona.
Kranj finished third last year at the World Tour Final and are back for another campaign. This means Jure Erzen and Mensud Julevic join the exclusive group of players who played in all four editions of the number one 3x3 basketball competition in the world. Also starring in Pool C will be Kolobrzeg (POL) who played last year in Prague and feature the three Rduch brothers and the winners of the Greek Quest, Psychico, a neighbourhood of Athens.
Last but not least, Team Belgrade will highlight Pool D with the charismatic Dragan Bjelica aka Mr Crossover, Team Amsterdam (who reached the semi-finals of the Lausanne Masters in 2014) and Team Paris, the winners of the French Quest.
For those not attending the games in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Venceslas Square, pool games will start at 16.10 local time (GMT+2) on Saturday live on FIBA 3x3's official YouTube channel. The top-two placed teams from each pool advance to a standard knock-out round which starts at the quarter-finals stage, from 16.30 local time on Sunday.