Red hot No.1 Ub out to continue domination at FIBA 3x3 Poitiers Challenger
POITIERS (France) - World No.1 Ub (SRB) will be aiming to continue their hot start to the season as the 3x3 men's pro circuit resumes at the Poitiers Challenger on July 1-2.
In a loaded fielded, 12 teams in the main draw will attempt to re-start the season in style after an insane Crelan FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2022 took centre stage. There are two prized tickets available for the Prague Masters, which is the third and next stop on this year's FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
You just can't go past Ub, who are making a case for being the best 3x3 team since Novi Sad's unbeaten dream season in 2018. The world No.1 have started 2022 with a bang after winning the Utsunomiya Opener and Manila Masters.
It's not like they needed any further confidence, but the Serbs probably feel invincible after Dejan Majstorovic, world No.1 Strahinja Stojacic and Marko Brankovic were part of Serbia's remarkable fifth World Cup triumph.
An obvious link to Novi Sad is Majstorovic, who has turned back the clock with one of the best stretches of his career where he has won MVPs in Manila and Antwerp.
Having claimed his record-equalling fourth World Cup victory, 'The Maestro' is not basking in glory and instead is determined to be 3x3's greatest winner. The 34-year-old sniper gets another chance to add to his silverware in Poitiers.
But the competition will be fierce with No.2 seed Amsterdam (NED) perhaps their biggest obstacle in the tournament with the Dutch Masters having reached the semis in Utsunomiya,
They have the services of Dimeo van der Horst and Arvin Slagter, who were part of the Netherlands' mixed World Cup campaign, where they impressively stormed through a tough Pool C before being knocked out by France.
This time around, the Dutch will be able to use their Serbian sharpshooter Maksim Kovacevic, who's made big shots ever since he first touched a 3x3 basketball.
The other top contender is Sakiai Gulbele (LTU) as hoops power Lithuania come of age in 3x3 after finishing with the silver medal in Antwerp.
Fresh off his World Cup heroics, lethal lefty Marijus Uzupis will be unleashing his uzi in Poitiers but the marksman showed his softer side after one of the most emotional moments seen on a 3x3 court.
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With so much happiness on-and-off the half court, an Uzupis-led Sakiai loom as a major title threat.
American teams Chicago, who have well-known 3x3 bucket getters Craig Moore and Joey King, and newcomer Washington DC are keen to land a punch too. The latter are led by Khalil Iverson, who had a taste for the 21-point game at the World Cup and should be a lot better for that experience.
You want one more dark horse? Don't underestimate Danube (SRB), who have the legendary Bogdan Dragovic - the dude who hit maybe the craziest 3x3 ever to help Zemun upset Novi Sad to win the Bloomage Beijing World Tour Final 2017.
We'll see if they are the real deal in the pool stage when they face Ub, where Dragovic will go head-to-head with his old foe Majstorovic. We can't wait!
Pool A: Ub Huishan NE (SRB), Lublin Lotto (POL), Danube (SRB)
Pool B: Amsterdam (NED), Podgorica Kodio (MNE), QD winner
Pool C: Sakiai Gulbele (LTU), Chicago (USA), Fribourg (SUI)
Pool D: Marijampole Mantinga (LTU), Kedainai (LTU), Washington DC (USA)
What's at stake
The top 2 teams in Poitiers will qualify for the Prague Masters on July 30-31, 2022, as part of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
How to watch
Haven't registered or done your team yet? Make sure you download the 3x3 Fantasy app and get a chance to win an official Wilson 3x3 ball.