Youthful San Juan make instant impact to win FIBA 3x3 Lausanne Super Quest 2023
Here's what happened in the Olympic capital.
The winners: San Juan (PUR)
They were: No.3 most points scored and best shooting value.
Puerto Rico's decision to back youngsters with an eye towards next year's Paris Olympics already looks like a masterstroke.
It was a tough decision because several iconic players had helped get Puerto Rico back on the 3x3 map in recent years.
But it was time for the new gen to stand up and four players aged 26 and under are now flying their country's flag. They've started with a bang after San Juan's memorable triumph in Lausanne where the 12th seed went on a giant-killing run.
Going all the way appeared unlikely when San Juan were easily beaten 21-13 by Dusseldorf LFDY (GER) first up before turning it around with a big victory over host Lausanne (SUI) to stun the local crowd.
That spectacular performance ignited them with San Juan overcoming powerhouse Liman (SRB) in a classic quarter-final before beating Toronto (CAN) in the semis.
They turned the tables on Dusseldorf in an unforgettable final to stamp themselves as the real deal.
Adrian Ocasio and Antonio Ralat were an unstoppable duo with a combined 67 points and loom as two of the most exciting players on the pro circuit.
Remember their names!
The runners-up: Dusseldorf LFDY (GER)
Dusseldorf impressed at times last year but want to go up a level in 2023. The fifth seed looked ultra impressive in Lausanne and were barely challenged before the final.
They did survive a strong test against Lausanne on Day One before laying the smackdown in the knockout stages with their best performance being a 21-13 win against formidable Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL) in the semis.
Dusseldorf finally met their match against San Juan in a tense final, but they should be very pleased with the tournament overall, where the Germans looked explosive and hard to stop.
Brilliant Boger: Alan Boger announced himself in 2023 with a scorching hot performance, where he finished top in points (41), player value (48.7) and highlights (19).
The 26-year-old showed he belonged on the big stage as he outplayed Antwerp's stars to finish with an insane 13 points to power Dusseldorf into the final.
The Final: San Juan 21- Dusseldorf LFDY 19
No one could have predicted these two teams would meet in the final, but 2023 promises to be more unpredictable than ever before.
The youthful San Juan started with plenty of energy in a bid to jump out of the blocks but the Germans held firm.
With a name of K Bryant, you would expect him to be all buckets and Kevin Bryant was exactly that to keep Dusseldorf afloat.
But Adrian Ocasio's jumper was tastier than Lindt chocolate all tournament and he helped San Juan skip out to a 10-6 lead.
After a quiet start, Alan Boger rediscovered the shooter's touch to draw Dusseldorf level and this was headed down to the wire.
Boger went bang, bang and appeared headed to lead Dusseldorf to the title. But down 18-15, San Juan stormed back with four straight points to take the lead.
The Germans predictably went to Boger, who drove to the hole to level up with both teams one shot away from victory.
Luis Cuascut Perez stepped up with the banked runner to seal San Juan's title as this young team has well and truly arrived on the pro circuit.
The reward: Two tickets to Manila Masters
San Juan and Dusseldorf LFDY qualified for the Manila Masters on May 20-21, 2023.They join defending champs Ub Huishan NE (SRB), Riga (LAT), Amsterdam HiPRO (NED), Beijing (CHN), Utsunomiya BREX (JPN) and Futian (CHN).
1. San Juan (PUR)
2. Dusseldorf LFDY (GER)
3.Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL)
4. Toronto (CAN)
5. Liman (SRB)
1. Alan Boger (Dusseldorf , GER) 41 pts
2. Adrian Ocasio (San Juan, PUR) 36 pts
3. Antonio Ralat (San Juan, PUR) 31 pts
4. Dennis Donkor (Antwerp, BEL) 28 pts
5. Niklas Kropp (Dusseldorf, GER) 27 pts
- Top seed Antwerp were the only top four seed to make it through to the semis. Liman fell in the quarters while Paris (FRA) and hosts Lausanne were winless.
- Dusseldorf may have fallen short but they were walking buckets as they hit the 21-point target in every game bar in the final when they finished with 19.
- Powerhouse Liman didn't start the season the way they wanted but Nebojsa Kilijan had arguably the best individual performance of the tournament when he scored 14 points and had 5 highlights against Montreux (SUI) on Day One.