Futian seeking elusive title at FIBA 3x3 Yichang Challenger 2023
YICHANG (China) - Loaded Futian (CHN) will have support on their side at the FIBA 3x3 Yichang Challenger as they seek a first title on the pro circuit.
The No.1 seeds headline a strong 12-team draw and there are also three tickets available for the Constanta Masters, which is the 9th stop on this season's FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
Let's preview all the action.
We'll start with much-hyped Futian, who have had a mixed time of things this season.
They meant business by recruiting superstars Dimeo van der Horst and Thibaut Vervoort with the results spectacular early, including three runners-up finishes in their first four events.
But Futian endured a slump after that which they seemed to get out of by making the semis at the Bordeaux Challenger.
They won't have van der Horst in Yichang, but Vervoort will be making sure he's 'Must See TV'.
Princeton (USA) are an iconic American team with a brand internationally recognized.
But they look a bit different in 2023 though Princeton are still collecting Ws having won the Baoding Challenger against the odds with just three players.
New sensation Henry Caruso was lights out in an insane debut and continued to have the shooter's touch in Edmonton, where Princeton reached the semis.
Their hopes are high, but other contenders loom.
No.2 seeds Utrecht (NED) have shown glimpses of their potential and it's a chance to see their chemistry with recruit Maksim Kovacevic, who has made every team he's played for better.
Wuxi (CHN) can't be discounted having already finished runners-up on the pro circuit and they have a deadly one-two duo of legendary Stefan Stojacic and young gun Jiaren Zhao.
There are several dark horses who could go a long way starting with Toronto KBA (CHN), who have made three semi-finals on the pro circuit this season.
Opponents need to watch for the pick 'n roll threat from speedy Alex Johnson and dunk machine Bikramjit Gill, who can connect to devastating effect.
Manila Chooks (PHI) are always a dark horse because natural born entertainer Mac Tallo can do things on the half-court you've never seen before.
While No.6 seeds have a legendary dude you may have heard of - former Novi Sad great Marko Savic who can still dominate whenever he wants to.
There are other teams from China and Mongolia, as well as Kuala Lumpur (MAS), who could well shock the world.
Pool A: Futian (CHN), Manila Chooks (PHI), Zaisan MIGdaatgal (MGL)
Pool B: Utrecht (NED), Kuala Lumpur (MAS), Zavkhan SAINSCORE (MGL)
Pool C: Princeton (USA), Wuhan (CHN), Zigui (CHN)
Pool D: Wuxi (CHN), Toronto KBA (CAN), Yichang (CHN)
What's at stake
The top 3 teams in Yichang will qualify for the Constanta Masters on September 9-10, 2023, as part of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
How to watch
The two-day extravaganza is on August 5-6 and you can follow it live on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube and Facebook pages.