How Ub Huishan NE won FIBA 3x3 World Tour Jeddah Final 2023

JEDDAH (Saudi Arabia) - After the first third of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2023 season, Ub Huishan NE (SRB) were literally unbeatable and swept all before them. 

They won the first six Masters of 2023 to rewrite the records they had set 12 months earlier when Ub won four straight titles to start the season. Such was their success that these Serbs were being renamed 'Ub-beatable' as it appeared no one could beat them.

They were making it look easy with the world's best player Strahinja Stojacic winning a trio of MVPs, while his teammates Dejan Majstorovic, Marko Brankovic and Nemanja Barac had one apiece in a total team effort. 


But their sheen of invincibility wore off in mid-August when Ub crashed at the quarters in Lausanne. Suddenly their competitors had woken up and the World Tour's deep talented field challenged the best in the business. 

Ub went titleless in their next eight Masters stops and only made the final once in Wuxi. They changed their line-up numerously, but the magic formula could not be found despite the continual brilliance of Stojacic.

For the first time in two years of dominating the World Tour, there were doubts over Ub as their World Tour Final defence hung in the balance. Even players had rated rival Miami (USA) favorites as the title favorites at the Jeddah Final after the hot season late form of the Americans.  

As we've learned many times before, Ub have a heart of a champion and respond best when they've been questioned. But Ub didn't quite answer the questions after Yuanbo Zhu dominated the paint and Beijing (CHN) went toe-to-toe in a Pool A classic. 

Down 18-15, Ub looked set for a shock early defeat before Stojacic put on his cape to hit the two before a Brankovic two-piece with under a minute left regained their advantage. 


Ub held on and it was the confidence boost they needed after thrashing Raudondvaris Hoptrans (LTU) in a defensive masterclass. Brankovic was on fire with a perfect 4 of 4 shooting display from deep as Ub sounded an ominous warning to rivals ahead of the knockout stage.

Ub had suddenly rediscovered their easy season brilliance and their momentum continued with a beatdown of Lausanne Sport LS (SUI) in the quarters. 

But things got considerably tougher against Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL) in the semis. The teams had started the season at the Utsunomiya Opener by playing in the final with Ub emerging victorious to kick-start their remarkable winning streak. 

There was a lot of focus on the battle between Stojacic and defensive ace Dennis Donkor. The brilliant Belgian played lockdown D to limit 'Doctor Strange's' powers, but Ub again proved exactly why they are so formidable. 

Even with their star well held, big fella Nenad Nerandzic - who had increasingly found his groove as the season wore on - dominated the glass, while Majsotrovic had the shooter's touch as he often does on the big stage. 

But Ub were in a dogfight to get over the line with a Jonas Foerts two-pointer giving Antwerp a 19-18 lead with 42 seconds left.

But Stojacic wasn't going to be held down for long as he nailed a two-pointer before Majstorovic proved he - and not Bradley Cooper - was the real 'Maestro' with his long bomb lifting Ub into the final. 

Ub's title defence rested on them ending the hot late season run of Amsterdam HiPRO (NED), who were of course led by human highlight reel Worthy de Jong. 

Everyone was salivating for the match-up between Stojacic and de Jong who were fighting for the crown. With so much at stake, Ub rose to the occasion and their length made it difficult for de Jong, who uncharacteristically could not get going. 

Stojacic had a typically brilliant all-round performance, while Nerandzic again was the man in the middle to prove to be a brilliant late season addition for Ub who ran away with the title. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by FIBA3x3 (@fiba3x3)


Ub's title defense cemented many legacies. With his fourth MVP of the season, Stojacic sealed the GOAT individual season. And Ub's seventh title of 2023 secured their place as the GOAT team in World Tour history. 

Somehow, Ub keep raising the standard of 3x3 and you just know they'll try to raise the bar in 2024. 

But, right now, Ub are deservedly celebrating another spectacular season that they thoroughly dominated.