Partizan upset No.1 Ub Huishan NE to win FIBA 3x3 Orleans Challenger 2023
ORLEANS (France) - Stefan Torbica produced an MVP performance as Partizan (SRB) upset compatriots Ub Huishan NE (SRB) to win the FIBA 3x3 Orleans Challenger 2023 on June 24-25.
Here's what happened.
The winners: Partizan (SRB)
They were: No.1 fewest points allowed
Partizan have been highly competitive for some time, but repeatedly fall short of the heavyweights.
Not this time as the Serbs did it the hard way from the qualifying draw in an unbeaten run to issue a statement.
After silencing much-hyped American teams Washington DC (USA) and Miami (USA) on Day One, Partizan dominated powerhouse Liman Huishan NE (SRB) in the quarter-finals with Torbica on fire from deep to finish with 10 points.
Their momentum continued against Marijampole Mantinga (LTU) in a tight semi-final before knocking off No.1 ranked Ub in an unforgettable decider.
The 26-year-old Torbica was unstoppable throughout in a breakout performance, while veteran Ivan Popovic was a walking bucket as Partizan claimed their first title of the season.
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The runner's up: Ub Huishan NE (SRB)
The best team in the business were determined to make amends after their unbeaten start to the season was broken at the FIBA 3x3 Ulaanbaatar Challenger.
Their quest got off to a rocky start after a heart-breaking early loss to Marijampole first-up. Ub's chances were made more difficult without Chinese player YuXuan Liu as they relied on trio Strahinja Stojacic, Dejan Majstorovic and Nemanja Barac.
The star Serbs put on their capes to lift Ub into the knockout stages with a tough win over NY Harlem (USA).
Day Two is where Ub go up a level and this looked no exception when they again broke the hearts of Amsterdam HiPRO (NED) with a thrilling 21-20 win.
They won their right to another final after beating Fribourg (SUI) in a trademark clutch performance before Ub finally ran out of gas against Partizan.
'Doctor Strange' is back: After unusually struggling in Ulaanbaatar, Stojacic was back to his best with a leading 38 points and he lit up the stage with 24 highlights to also top the charts.
He dunked on anyone who dared get in his way while also providing rim protection, as Stojacic relished the added responsibility of having to lead three-man Ub.
The Final: Partizan 22-Ub Huishan NE 19
Partizan had a golden opportunity against three-man Ub, but they knew this was not going to be easy.
Dejan Majstorovic aka 'The Maestro' loves these moments and started strong with four quick points to rattle Partizan.
But Stefan Torbica wanted to show everyone that he's the real deal and he went toe-to-toe with the Serb legends.
Strahinja Stojacic decided it was time to switch to attack mode as he drove to the hoop in this fast-paced game between two teams playing aggressively.
But Partizan could sense their opponents tiring and they put the foot down to skip out to an 18-14 lead when Stefan Milivojevic went bang beyond the arc.
You just knew Ub wouldn't roll over and Majstorovic and Barac willed them to within 20-19.
It was anyone's game before Ivan Popovic froze Orleans with an ice-cool two as Partizan's upset over Ub was complete.
The reward: Three tickets to the Prague Masters
With Partizan having already qualified, fourth-placed Fribourg booked a ticket along with Ub Huishan NE and Marijampole Mantinga for the Prague Masters on August 5-6. They join Antwerp TOPdesk, Riga, Paris, Liman Huishan NE and Jeddah.
1. Partizan (SRB)
2. Ub Huishan NE (SRB)
3. Marijampole Mantinga (LTU)
4. Fribourg (SUI)
5. Amsterdam HiPRO (NED)
1. Strahinja Stojacic (Ub Huishan NE, SRB) 38 pts
2. Evaldas Dziaugys (Marijampole Mantinga, LTU) 37 pts
3. Nemanja Barac (Ub Huishan NE, SRB) 34 pts
4. Ivan Popovic (Partizan, SRB) 30 pts
5. Worthy de Jong (Amsterdam HiPRO, NED) 28 pts
- Amsterdam HiPRO were the only top four seed not to make the semis after losing to Ub in a thrilling quarter-final.
- Much-hyped Miami were winless in their pro circuit debut with former NBA player and College star Jimmer Fredette scoring just six points in two games.
- Former NBA player Charlie Brown Jr was electric in his debut for Washington DC and finished No.2 in highlights (20) and he also had three triple-fives in just four games.