Top seeds Vienna eye title breakthrough at FIBA 3x3 Suntory Shanghai Challenger 2023
SHANGHAI (China) - Top seeds Vienna (AUT) are aiming to win their first title of the season at the FIBA 3x3 Suntory Shanghai Challenger 2023 on August 26-27.
The Austrians are part of a strong 14-team field and there are also three tickets available for the Chengdu Masters, which is the 13th stop on this season's FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
Let's preview all the action.
Vienna have had limited action in 2023, playing just five events with their worst performance being the last time we saw them at the Prague Masters.
The Austrians, however, have top billing in this loaded draw with stars Quincy Diggs and Nico Kaltenbrunner determined to end their title drought in 2023.
Vienna will need to rediscover their best because there are numerous heavyweights in Shanghai with Beijing (CHN) set to be a crowd favorite.
There have been bumps along the way in superheroes Karlis Lasmanis and Nauris Miezis' first seasons with their new team, but Beijing have still won three titles on the pro circuit.
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The pair haven't missed a beat averaging 13.5 ppg combined on the pro circuit to remain among the absolute elite on the planet.
Liman Huishan NE (SRB) won't have sniper Stefan Kojic, but you can't write off a team with big fella Mihalio Vasic and walking bucket Nebojsa Kilijan, who usually kills it when he needs to carry the scoring load.
There will be a blockbuster on Day One between Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL) and Futian (CHN) with both teams still looking for their first title of the season.
The Mongolians have been ultra consistent this season, but will be smarting after failing to reach the knockout stages at the FIBA 3x3 Lausanne Masters 2023.
Their chances of a bounce back should be good with legendary sharpshooter Steve Sir lighting up the pro circuit yet again, while Delgernyam Davaasambuu can play bully ball whenever he wants.
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Futian had three runners-up finishes early in the season, but have fallen away recently although made the semis at the FIBA 3x3 Quebec Challenger 2023.
They won't have superstar Dimeo van der Horst meaning Thibaut Vervoort aka 'Must See TV' will need to play the starring role.
There are plenty of teams capable of upstaging the favorites starting with North American teams NY Harlem (USA) and Toronto KBA (CAN), who should both cause headaches for Vienna in Pool A.
Marijampole Mantinga (LTU) enters in form after the lethal Lithuanians made the semis in Lausanne, where Evaldas Dziaugys was unstoppable.
Sansar MMC Energy (MGL) have gone off the boil recently, but hope to recapture their hot early season form.
To do that they'll need star Anand Ariunbold to get rolling as they face a pivotal early clash against youthful Marseille (FRA), who have shown flashes of brilliance particularly 22-year-old Lorenzo Thirouard-Samson.
We can't rule out Warsaw Lotto (POL), who are capable of a deep run if they can emerge from the qualifying draw.
That's because we've seen Przemyslaw Zamojski heat up as if he's been in a microwave and if he's cookin' then the Poles might just steal the show.
Pool A: Vienna (AUT), NY Harlem (USA) Toronto KBA (CAN),
Pool B: Beijing (CHN),Marijampole Mantinga (LTU), Qualifier
Pool C: Liman Huishan NE (SRB), Sansar MMC Energy (MGL), Marseille (FRA)
Pool D: Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL), Futian (CHN), Bayangol Broncos (MGL)
What's at stake
The top 3 teams in Shanghai will qualify for the Chengdu Masters on October 21-22, 2023, as part of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
How to watch
The two-day extravaganza is on August 26-27 and you can follow it live on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube and Facebook pages.