Chinese powers Beijing and Futian headline FIBA 3x3 World Hoops Penang Challenger 2023
PENANG (Malaysia) - New Chinese powers Beijing and Futian will be looking to build on strong starts to the season at the FIBA 3x3 World Hoops Penang Challenger 2023 on June 10-11.
The 14-team draw is loaded and there is an added carrot dangling for teams of two tickets to the first-ever FIBA 3x3 Macau Masters, which is the fourth stop on this season's World Tour.
Let's preview the action.
We just have to start with Beijing (CHN), who are the new sensations after the additions of Latvian superheroes Karlis Lasmanis and Nauris Miezis.
The deadly duo have not missed a beat as they led their new team to the semi finals of the Manila Masters in their World Tour debuts for Beijing. They will arrive in Penang with extra swag having won bronze for Latvia at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023.
Beijing aren't the only new Chinese heavyweights with Futian getting within an inch of winning the title in Manila. They were superbly led by prized recruit Dimeo van der Horst, who had the shooter's roll all event.
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And he'll have to do the heavy lifting in Penang with new sidekick Thibaut Vervoort missing the event as Futian will have to go the long way to the title via qualification.
Dusseldorf LFDY (GER) have been determined to make the leap in 2023 and they've so far lived up to the promise with strong form on the pro circuit, including winning the FIBA 3x3 Deqing Huzhou Challenger 2023.
Make sure to watch lanky Niklas Kropp, whose one of the best shootings bigs seen in 3x3.
American fan favorites NY Harlem were rusty first up in Deqing Huzhou, but should be better in Penang. Dominique Jones will be out to live up to his famous nickname of 'Disco Domo' and if heats up then the New Yorkers could be back in business.
We just have to mention Utsunomiya BREX EXE (JPN), who deserve to be rated among the contenders after an eye-catching start to the season.
The speedy Yosuke Saito can run rings around opponents and he'll be a player who can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the event.
This is a deep field with a number of teams capable of a giant-killing run, including Pasig TNT (PHI) who are led by Filipino sniper Almond Vosotros.
Don't be surprised if Saitama ALPHAS EXE (JPN) go on a deep run because they have 3x3 magician Tomoya Ochiai, who can make the Wilson talk.
There is a lot of intrigue over American team Los Angeles, who can make a big statement on Day One against Dusseldorf and Utsunomiya in Pool D in what is surely the 'Group of Death'.
Kuala Lumpur (MAS) will have the backing of the Malaysian fans and their hopes of getting out of qualification are high due to the presence of 3x3 legend Simon Finzgar, who will prove he can still master opponents on the half-court.
Pool A: Beijing (CHN), Lublin Lotto (POL), Pasig TNT (PHI)
Pool B: Saitama ALPHAS EXE (JPN), Seongnam Officechec (KOR)
Pool C: NY Harlem (USA), Kaunas VDU (LTU), Bayangol Broncos (MGL)
Pool D: Dusseldorf LFDY (GER), Utsunomiya BREX EXE (JPN), Los Angeles (USA)
What's at stake
The top 2 teams in Penang will qualify for the Macau Masters on July 8-9, 2023, as part of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
How to watch