Relentless Ub set to thrill home fans at FIBA 3x3 Novi Sad Challenger 2023
NOVI SAD (Serbia) - Unstoppable Ub Huishan NE will be out to brush aside fatigue at the FIBA 3x3 Novi Sad Challenge as they eye another title in 2023.
The No.1 seeds headline the 16-team draw and there are also three tickets available for the first-ever Shanghai Masters, which is the 12th stop on this season's FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
Let's preview all the action.
Ub Huishan NE have more energy than Tom Cruise making Mission Impossible films with these spectacular Serbs not knowing the meaning of taking a breather.
This will be their sixth event in the last month, but it doesn't matter with Ub having won three straight titles, including the recent Macau Masters where their superior fitness levels powered them to a title in hot and humid conditions.
Ub will welcome back Dejan Majstorovic, who missed in Macau as they boast their full strength line up and you know they will bring it for their beloved fans.
Other teams must be surely getting jealous of Ub, who are 4 from 4 in Masters to start 2023.
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There will be extra motivation to knock them off, especially Beijing who have lost two Masters semis to Ub including in Macau.
Beijing will again be led by superheroes Karlis Lasmanis and Nauris Miezis, who were dynamic in Macau but left visibly frustrated after falling to Ub.
You just know they'll be out for revenge and so will Liman Huishan NE (SRB), who fell short in the final in Macau.
Veterans Stefan Kojic and Mihailo Vasic were spectacular in their World Tour season debuts and you know they'll be pumped up about returning home.
Futian (CHN) were knocked out on Day One in a disappointing showing in Macau and will be without Thibaut Vervoort here.
There will be more on the shoulders of Dimeo van der Horst, but you just know he's up for the challenge.
There are plenty of challengers in this loaded draw with No.3 seeds Partizan (SRB) likely to be understandably angry they are listed here.
They can be hot or cold and face an early test in Pool C against another darkhorse Sansar MMC Energy (MGL) as we again get to watch the scoring skills of walking bucket Anand Ariunbold.
Lausanne (SUI) are long-time fan favorites on the pro circuit and have the experience for a deep run, while Utsunomiya BREX EXE (JPN) have gone up a level this season.
Utrecht (NED), Haarlem (NED and Wuxi (CHN) each have star players who can strike fear in opponents so won't be pushovers.
And we just can't leave Hangzhou (CHN) off this time after having egg on our face after they won the Poitiers Challenger.
All eyes will be on Vladimir Trajkovic to see if he can create a heat wave in Novi Sad after a scorching hot performance in Poitiers.
Pool A: Ub Huishan NE, Lausanne (SUI), Utsunomiya BREX EXE (JPN)
Pool B: Beijing (CHN), Utrecht (NED), Wuxi (CHN)
Pool C: Partizan (SRB), Sansar MMC Energy (MGL), Hangzhou (CHN)
Pool D: Haarlem (NED), Qualifier, Qualifier
What's at stake
The top 3 teams in Novi Sad will qualify for the Shanghai Masters on October 14-15, 2023, as part of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
How to watch
The two-day extravaganza is on July 15-16 and you can follow it live on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube and Facebook pages.