An oral history: Riga's FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2020 title moments in their own words
JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia) - There was no better way to cap off this more unusual 3x3 season than with a Tissot Buzzer beater and a new champion.
Riga (LAT), winners of three 2020 World Tour events, including the Jeddah World Tour Final, had to overcome obstacles both on and off the court to take the title back to Latvia.
Here is the story of their 2020 World Tour Finals conquest as told by their dynamic foursome of Edgars Krumins, Karlis Lasmanis, Nauris Miezis, and Agnis Cavars.
Nauris Miezis: It’s like family. I talk to my wife more, but I see these guys more than my wife.
Karlis Lasmanis: We are a family. This is a lifestyle. We didn’t have anything to do so we were practicing every day, twice per day. We had a hard year, but who said it was going to be easy.
Heading into the final, Riga had come in hot, having won at the Hungary and Doha Masters. In the latter, a win over Liman, Karlis Lasmanis hit the shot of his life to win the tournament.
Karlis Lasmanis: It doesn’t matter if you miss a lot of shots, you’re going to make the main one. The last game (in Doha) was the favorite game in my life in 3x3 because that comeback (vs. Liman) was amazing. Those emotions, after that kind of comeback… I knew it (the shot) was going to be in because usually you know, and it’s not like basketball where a coach will tell you to stop shooting. I’m going to take every shot. I follow my mind and my heart, and I do what I think to do.
Agnis Cavars: I tell you this all the time. The difference between the top two teams in the world is one lucky shot. Let’s be honest, this year it was us or Liman. Everyone was betting on us or Liman, so I think that was the one difference, that one shot.
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The two teams were on a collision course at the World Tour Final, going through the group stages like a hot knife in butter. They would meet again in the final with the big check on the line.
Edgars Krumins: I have to be honest; I felt a lot of pressure. I shared the room with (Karlis) Lasmanis and as we woke up that day, we felt excited and were nervous. For the first time, our games were on National Latvian Television and of course, we didn’t want to let down our fans.
Karlis Lasmanis: I was a little nervous because I knew that all of Latvia would watch and I want to prove that we can do more than they think that we can do.
The game, as predicted, was as tight as could be. It came down to the final possession, with one shot for all the glory.
Edgars Krumins: I was on the bench and the ball was ours. Nauris (Miezis) called me out to make the shot and we were planning that I would take a 2-point shot. But as soon as the ref gave the ball, Liman changed their game plan.
Nauris Miezis: It was an open shot in the last seconds. To the end, I watched where the ball was going because I was tired and I wanted the game to stop right now, at this moment, and that's what happened.
Agnis Cavars: When he took the shot, I knew that it was going.
Edgars Krumins: I was not thinking at all. I just collapsed – we did it! Everyone in Latvia saw it and the satisfaction was huge.
Agnis Cavars: Our phones are exploding (with messages) now. We’ve never had so many messages even when we won Euro Cup or second place at the World Cup.
Following the difficult year, they’ll now look to the 2021 World Tour and the Olympic Games in Japan where there is more history to be made for this crew.
Karlis Lasmanis: I’m going to go home, see my family and friends, and start to prepare my body for the next competition and focus on the Olympics.
Agnis Cavars: This year was tough mentally for us but with this ending, forget about it. We will do the same next year.