Who players think will win FIBA 3x3 World Tour Abu Dhabi Final 2022
ABU DHABI (UAE) - We've conducted a players' poll on who they think will win the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Abu Dhabi Final 2022 and the results are in.
There are a few surprises to reveal as the players have their say on the biggest annual event on the World Tour calendar. Here are the top six teams from the poll.
1. Riga, LAT (25%)
A quarter of the players selected No.4 seed Riga, who have come out on top of this poll. It's probably not such a surprise considering the reloaded Latvians have a 27-1 record since the return of superstar Karlis Lasmanis on the Enlio court.
They won three Masters in that span with Lasmanis better than ever, while partner-in-crime Nauris Miezis seemingly never missed in the clutch.
Riga's four Olympic gold medalists have been together for the best part of five years and done it all in 3x3, including winning the World Tour Final 2020. But Riga might be at their peak right now which is a scary prospect for opponents.
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2. Ub Huishan NE, SRB (23%)
Coming in at a close second is No.1 seed Ub, who absolutely dominated the first half of the season with four straight Masters but have had a drought since then. But they've still been mightily close and only just narrowly lost a classic final against Riga at the Riyadh Masters.
They've got the No.1 player in the world Strahinja Stojacic, who is out to show he's the best player in the game, while Dejan Majstorovic is looking for a record fifth World Tour Final title having won four previously with Novi Sad.
As the players' poll indicated, Ub will be serious challengers.
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3. Sakiai Gulbele, LTU (13%)
Perhaps the first surprise on the list, but maybe not considering Sakiai's hot recent form culminating in winning the regular season finale in Hong Kong.
The Lithuanians have teased over the years since their breakthrough win at the Montreal Masters 2019, but they've finally found consistency. If their dynamic duo of Aurelijus Pukelis and Marijus Uzupis fire then the No.6 seed will justify the faith shown in the players' poll.
4. Vienna, AUT (9.6%)
The Austrians have made the leap in 2022 as underlined by their breakthrough Masters title in Paris. They've ridden the incredible comeback of 3x3 great Stefan Stojacic, who might even be playing at a higher level than his legendary peak at Liman.
But it's not a one-man show with Filip Kramer stronger than Schwarzenegger while Quincy Diggs has fitted in perfectly and added firepower. It's little wonder the No.7 seed have support from their peers.
5. Antwerp, BEL (7.7%)
The brilliant Belgians made the list after a strong season highlighted by winning the Debrecen Masters in a relief for a team who had continually tripped up in the semis.
They haven't won a Masters since but have gotten close several times as No.3 seed Antwerp aim to end the season on the ultimate high.
The confidence from the players' poll probably largely revolves around Thibaut Vervoort aka 'Must See TV' who is out for one last hit show for the season.
6. Lausanne Sport, SUI (6%)
The surprise team on the list with No.11 seed Lausanne in the poll's top six. But this is an experienced group who are well known on the circuit as one of 3x3's best entertainers.
They don't always pull it together but when they do it's deadly like Lausanne memorably showed at their home event at the Lausanne Masters mid-year.
The other six teams received around 1-2% of the vote with the big shock being defending champs Liman Huishan NE not placed in the top six. But the No.2 seed will be out to prove a point in what looms as a wide-open race.