RIGA (Latvia) - 3x3 is returning to Latvia, now the home of the first-ever Olympic gold medalists. Riga, the capital city of the country will host the Ghetto Basket Riga 2021 Challenger, Aug 24 - Aug 25, 2021, the fifth Challenger event of the year.
Let's take a closer look at the upcoming tournament and what to keep your eyes on.
Pool A: Riga (LAT), Raudondvaris Tauras (LTU), Qualifying Draw B winner
Bool B: Sakiai Gulbele (LTU), Utrecht (NED), Qualifying Draw A winner
Pool C: Ub (SRB), Antwerp (BEL), Reval Scanweld (EST)
Pool D: Amsterdam Talent&Pro (NED), Princeton (USA), Grizinkalns (LAT)
This is a very competitive field where the top 6 teams are legitimate Challenger title contenders. Riga, Sakiai Gulbele, Ub, Amsterdam, Princeton, and Antwerp all must be looking around and wondering if they are at a Masters event.
Riga, the hometown team is the clear fan favorite, and while Edgars Krumins is still out with an ankle injury, who would bet against Karlis Lasmanis and Nauris Miezis? These golden boys, who got themselves going at the Lausanne Masters are now ready to win one on their own turf.
Ub, the runners up in Lausanne are bringing back the full squad and we're looking forward to a follow-up performance from Dejan Majstorovic after finishing second in scoring in Switzerland with 32 points.
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Antwerp and Princeton are both 3x3 Challenger event winners this year as well. The Belgians were the winners of the Lipik and Poitiers Challengers, while the Americans won the Cergy-Pontoise Challenger in July.
With a field this strong, this has become a must-watch tournament.
Outside of the contenders, there is always a team or two that is lurking, looking to make their move.
Raudondvaris Tauras (LTU) is a tough squad with some of the best Lithuanian 3x3 players in the country. The same goes for Jelgava (LAT), a team that might sit in the shadow of Riga with a bunch of former FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup silver medalists, but can use the same homecourt advantage to pull a few upsets.
Two teams that will rely on star power are Runa (RUS) which is led by the number one Belarusian player, Sergey Kozlov, and Utrecht (NED), led by Olympian Jessey Voorn. We know these guys can fill up the score sheets and they'll need top-5 scorer performances if they're going to make a deep run.
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To round out the field, Lyon (FRA), Dusseldorf LFDY (GER), Bern Stride (SUI) will compete for one qualifying spot, while Jelgava (LAT), Runa (RUS), and Bojnice Meferesu&a (SVK) will play for the other.
What's at stake
The top 2 teams in Riga will qualify for the Abu Dhabi Masters, October 29-30, 2021 as part of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2021.
How to Watch
The action starts on August 24, and you can follow all the action live on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube and Facebook pages.