Powers Ub and Antwerp headline loaded FIBA 3x3 San Juan Challenger 2022
SAN JUAN (Puerto Rico) - No.1 seed Ub Huishan NE (SRB) and nemesis Antwerp (BEL) could be on a collision course to renew their epic rivalry at the FIBA 3x3 San Juan Challenger 2022 on September 17-18.
The Serbs incredibly won the first four Masters of the season before their unbeaten run was broken by the brilliant Belgians in the Debrecen final.
There is great anticipation that they'll meet again but there are no guarantees in a tough 16-team draw with two tickets up for grabs to the much-anticipated Paris Masters next month, which will be the first time the FIBA 3x3 World Tour travels to France.
You know who we're starting with. After their dreams of sweeping through the World Tour ended in Debrecen, Ub will enter San Juan on a mission and looking to get back to their winning ways.
Even though they've been nearly unbeatable on the World Tour, the Serbs haven't won a Challengers this season and will be hoping for third time lucky.
They once again bring back their regular line-up led by No.1 ranked player Strahinja Stojacic, who along with teammates Dejan Majstorovic and Marko Brankovic, was part of Serbia's gold medal triumph at the FIBA 3x3 Europe Cup 2022.
If Ub are to collect another trophy they might have to get through arch-rival Antwerp, who finally broke through on the World Tour with such a sweet W in Debrecen.
It will be harder without Thibaut Vervoort but teammate Nick Celis has grabbed the remote and wants to be the hottest show on TV this weekend. Also, we got a glimpse in Lausanne of what Dennis Donkor can do with the ball in his hands.
No.3 seed Princeton (USA) are still searching for that elusive title in 2022 having finished runner-up three times this season, but they haven't lost hope. If they needed it, the Americans will receive a confidence boost with the return of Robbie Hummel, who has been a certified bucket getter in 3x3 for years now.
We have to round out the list of top contenders with No.4 seed Vienna (AUT), who have at least made the semis in their past five events, headed by a first major title on the pro circuit after winning the Edmonton Challenger.
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Stefan Stojacic has done something even Roger Federer couldn't - defy a serious knee injury and ward off retirement. 'Mr Robot' has been rewired and he's scarier than Rami Malek in No Time to Die.
It's a stacked field with so many legit threats, including red-hot American teams Omaha 3Ball and NY Harlem.
Speaking of, Dominique Jones aka 'Disco Domo' might need to cool off in one of the famous beaches in San Juan because he was an absolute flame thrower in Penang, where he scored a filthy 17 points against Princeton.
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Dusseldorf LFDY (GER) have been a little bit up and down although a runner-up finish at the Lipik Challenger showed their ceiling.
It's been a tough season for Warsaw Lotto (POL), who started as a bandwagon team but don't jump off just yet because any team with walking bucket Przemyslaw Zamojski can get going.
They've been a little quiet this season but playing at home might just spark San Juan (PUR) and their deadly duo Angel Matias and Gilberto Clavell, who want to host the biggest party in this famous tourist destination.
Pool A: Ub Huishan NE (SRB), Omaha 3Ball (USA), San Juan (PUR)
Pool B: Antwerp (BEL), Warsaw Lotto (POL), Qualifier
Pool C: Princeton (USA), Dusseldorf LFDY (GER), Santiago (CHI)
Pool D: Vienna (AUT), Los Angeles (USA), Qualifier
What's at stake
The top 2 teams in San Juan will qualify for the Paris Masters on October 7-8, 2022, as part of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour. Important Note: Vienna (AUT) have already secured their spot to Paris so the third-ranked team will qualify if the Austrians finish in the top two.
How to watch
The two-day extravaganza is on September 17-18 and you can follow it live on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube and Facebook pages.
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.