Beijing bounce back to form with victory at FIBA 3x3 Wuxi Challenger 2023
WUXI (China) - Powered by superheroes Karlis Lasmanis and Nauris Miezis, Beijing (CHN) ended a form slump in style to win the FIBA 3x3 Wuxi Challenger 2023.
Here's what happened.
The winners: Beijing (CHN)
They were: No.1 fewest points allowed
After a fruitless stretch over four events, Beijing rediscovered their best form to capture their third title this season.
They were led by MVP Miezis and Lasmanis, who combined for 62 points while powerful Yuanbo Zhu was a powerhouse in the paint.
Beijing cruised into Day 2, but they were made to work in the quarters against Warsaw Lotto (POL) before prevailing in OT.
They shut down surprise packets Antananarivo (MAD) with aggressive defence in the semis then stopped in-form Partizan's (SRB) charge in a tense final.
With their best players regaining their superpowers, Beijing once again looks like a force as they hunt for an elusive World Tour title.
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The runner's-up: Partizan (SRB)
Having memorably won the Novi Sad Challenger, Partizan backed up brilliantly and came within an inch of a third title this season.
Partizan had few worries on Day One before impressively edging past hosts Wuxi (CHN) and No.1 seeds Vienna (AUT).
They couldn't quite finish it off, but another strong showing makes them one of the form teams on the pro circuit.
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Magnificent Milivojevic: The 26-year-old Stefan Milivojevic has been one of the best newcomers on the pro circuit this season.
He was once again lights out to finish equal top in points and equal second in key assists.
Milivojevic continued to prove he's an assassin from deep, where he connected on 38%, and he combined well with Andreja Milutinovic, who starred in just his second appearance on the pro circuit.
The Final: Beijing 19-Partizan 15
Red-hot Partizan wanted to make another statement, but Beijing were determined for the prize in front of their passionate Chinese fans.
In a play that had been seen throughout the event, Nauris Miezis beautifully fed Karlis Lasmanis for the game's opening bucket .
It wasn't long until Miezis brought out his two-piece to cap a fast start for Beijing much to the delight of the crowd.
When Lasmanis also nailed a long ball, Beijing threatened to run away with the contest but you knew Partizan wouldn't roll over.
They were ignited by a two-hand dunk from Stefan Torbica in traffic as Partizan clawed back by the halfway mark.
Beijing went back to a reliable source with Miezis answering with a pretty layup before Lasmanis hit a trademark step-back J on the baseline.
Partizan responded to reduce Beijing's lead to 14-13 within the last two minutes.
It was time for the Latvian superheroes to step up in the clutch and they did exactly that with Miezis nailing a two and Lasmanis scoring a tough bucket at the rim to give Beijing breathing room.
Beijing hung on as they enjoyed the spoils and the cheers from their loud fans.
The reward: Three tickets to the Shanghai Masters
With Partizan having already secured a spot, Beijing, Vienna and Antananarivo joined Liman Huishan NE and Wuxi as the teams to have qualified for the Shanghai Masters on October 14-15.
1. Beijing (CHN)
2. Partizan (SRB)
3. Vienna (AUT)
4. Antananarivo (MAD)
5. Raudondvaris Hoptrans (LTU)
1. Karlis Lasmanis (Beijing, CHN) 33 pts
2. Stefan Milivojevic (Partizan, SRB) 33 pts
3. Nauris Miezis (Beijing, CHN) 29 pts
4. Elly Randriamampionona (Antananarivo, MAD) 29 pts
5. Andreja Milutinovic (Partizan, SRB) 29 pts
- No.2 seeds Raudondvaris Hoptrans (LTU) were the only top four seed not to make the semis.
- Modestas Kumpys had a monster tournament and joined Nauris Miezis as the only players who had two triple-fives.
- Elly Randriamampionona had a superb pro circuit debut to finish fourth in scoring and he also had a buzzer beater against Sansar MMC Energy to lead Antananarivo to a surprising semi-final run.