Ub Huishan NE looking to bounce back at FIBA 3x3 Orleans Challenger 2023
ORLEANS (France) - After their perfect record finally ended, No.1 ranked Ub Huishan NE are aiming to regain their winning ways at the FIBA 3x3 Orleans Challenger on June 24-25.
The Serbs headline a loaded 16-team draw and there are also three tickets available for the Prague Masters, which is the sixth stop on this season's FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
Let's preview all the action.
You know the routine. When Ub is in the draw, they just have to start first although this time these spectacular Serbs enter a tournament on the back of a defeat.
After winning the opening two Masters of the season, and with three of their players part of Serbia's triumph at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023, it looked like Ub were truly unstoppable.
But their unbeaten run finally ended at the hands of Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy at the Ulaanbaatar Challenger in a classic semi-final.
You just know Ub will be determined to regain their superpowers, especially Strahinja Stojacic who was unusually muted in Ulaanbaatar.
It won't be easy for Ub with a whole list of contenders itching to go all the way starting with their compatriots Liman Huishan NE, who already have a Challenger title under their belt this year.
With Stefan Kojic deadlier than rakija, Liman have been a consistent contender but face an early test against No.2 seeds Raudondvaris Hoptrans (LTU), who were runners-up at the Baoding Challenger.
The one-two punch of Aurelijus Pukelis and Marijus Uzupis were lights out in Baoding, so expect more of the same while high-flyer Modestas Kumpys is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
There is another clash of contenders in Pool C with Amsterdam HiPRO (NED) and Paris (FRA) squaring off.
We just can't wait to see the battle of entertainers between human highlight reel Worthy de Jong and Franck Seguela, who can do magic tricks with the Wilson.
Last but certainly not least is Miami (USA), who will make their pro circuit debuts but this awesome foursome led USA to within an inch of winning the World Cup.
All eyes will be on former NBA player and college star Jimmer Fredette, who dazzled at the World Cup and ensured 'Jimmer Mania' swept through the half-court.
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There are plenty of teams who could upset the favorites starting with legendary entertainers NY Harlem led by dynamic scorers Dominique Jones and Kidani Brutus.
The New Yorkers will likely need to beat lethal Lithuanians Marijampole Mantinga (LTU) to get out of Day One.
While Fribourg (SUI) and Versailles (FRA) are stacked with dudes who have dominated the half-court - Natan Jurkovitz and Antoine Eito respectively.
Don't be shocked if a qualifier makes a giant-killing run and we have our sights on two teams - Partizan (SRB) and Washington DC (USA)
Partizan have already finished second at the Clermont-Ferrand Challenger, while the exciting Americans will be unleashed for the first time.
Buckle up because it will be dunks galore when former NBA player Charlie Brown Jr and Khalil Iverson step on the half-court.
Pool A: Ub Huishan NE (SRB), NY Harlem, Marijampole Mantinga (LTU)
Pool B: Raudondvaris Hoptrans (LTU), Liman Huishan NE (SRB), Fribourg (SUI)
Pool C: Amsterdam HiPRO (NED), Paris (FRA), Versailles (FRA)
Pool D: Miami, Qualifier, Qualifier
What's at stake
The top 3 teams in Orleans will qualify for the Prague Masters on August 5-6, 2023, as part of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
How to watch
The two-day extravaganza is on June 24-25 and you can follow it live on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube and Facebook pages.