Awesome Antwerp wins first title of season at FIBA 3x3 Ulaanbaatar Challenger 2023
ULAANBAATAR (Mongolia) - Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL) silenced the home fans to claim their first title of the season at the FIBA 3x3 Ulaanbaatar Challenger 2023 on June 16-17.
Here's what happened.
The winners: Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL)
They were: No.2 shooting value
Life without Thibaut Vervoort has started well for Antwerp, who have showcased their considerable depth.
But they've done so without a title until now with the No.2 seeds storming through a loaded draw in Utsunomiya without blemish.
After navigating a tricky Day One with wins over Toronto KBA (CAN) and NY Harlem (USA), Antwerp defied the home crowd to comfortably beat Sansar MMC Energy (MMC) in the quarters.
But the Belgians needed to be brilliant at the business end as they overcame Riga (LAT) in a classic semi-final before an epic OT triumph over hosts Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL) in the final.
MVP Caspar Augustijnen proved why he is the most hyped youngster on the pro circuit by dominating the paint.
But they will be most pleased by the performances of new kids on the block Jonas Foerts and Vic Van Oosterwyck, who combined for 50 points as Antwerp showcased their endless talent.
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The runner's-up: Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL)
They were within an inch of winning the title, but Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy had a golden run in front of their beloved fans.
The No.4 seeds had the bragging rights over Amgalan (MGL) and Sansar MMC Energy (MGL) before a crazy Day Two. Ulaanbaatar overcame Toronto KBA (CAN) before doing what no team has achieved in 2023 - beating unstoppable Ub Huisan NE!
After limiting top player Strahinja Stojacic to just 1 point, Steve Sir was the best player on the half-court to finish with 11 points as Ub lost after winning 10 of 10 to start the season.
Yesssir: Sharpshooter Sir proved why he is an OG 3x3 shooter with a lights out shooting display.
He turned up the volume with an insane 48 points, 16 of 35 from 2, and also topped player value (40.3).
The Canadian legend has inspired a rise in Mongolian 3x3 since moving there 18 months ago and showed everyone in Ulaanbaatar he can still wind back the clock.
It was yessirrrr all tournament long!
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The Final: Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL) 21-Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy 19
The home crowd could sniff a title from their heroes, but Antwerp TOPdesk had other ideas.
Big fella Caspar Augustijnen started fast with a layup before red-hot Steve Sir went bang to get the fans jumping out of their seats.
Sir was on a mission as the home team threatened to take control as Marko Dugosija played inspired and hyped up the rowdy crowd.
But Antwerp punched back led by Augistijnen, who proved he can also score from the outside.
A two from Vic Van Oosterwyck gave Antwerp the lead, but this was headed down to the wire as the teams traded big buckets.
Sir loomed as the hero and he put on his cape with a huge two to level the scores with OT needed to split these teams.
But Jonas Foerts was ice cool under pressure as he shook off the defender before nailing the title winning two to silence the home fans.
The reward: Three tickets to the Lausanne Masters
Antwerp TOPdesk, Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy and Ub Huishan NE qualified for the Lausanne Masters on August 18-19, 2023. They join Miami and Tel-Aviv in the draw.
1. Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL)
2. Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL)
3. Ub Huishan NE (SRB)
4. Riga (LAT)
5. Marijampole Mantinga (LTU)
1. Steve Sir (Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy, MGL) 48 pts
2. Caspar Augustijnen (Antwerp TOPdesk, BEL) 33 pts
3. Miroslav Pasajlic (Riga, LAT) 32 pts
4. Marko Brankovic (Ub Huishan NE, SRB) 28 pts
5. Jonas Foerts(Antwerp TOPdesk, BEL) 27 pts
- All the top four seeds made the semis, while NY Harlem was the only top 8 seed not to make it through to Day Two.
- Star recruit Miroslav Pasajlic was terrific for Riga to finish with 32 points and No.1 in highlights (23) and second in key assists (9)
- Strahinja Stojacic cooled off with just 13 points in 4 games, but the Ub superstar finished top in key assists (12) and second in highlights (19).