SAMOBOR (Croatia) - After a shock quarter-final exit in Constanta, Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL) will look to rebound at the Samobor Challenger 2023 on September 16-17.
The brilliant Belgians headline a strong 16-team field and there are also three tickets available for the Wuxi Masters, which is the 15th stop on this season's FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
Let's preview all the action.
Let's start with Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL), who not long ago won the Lausanne Masters. But the Belgians fell back to earth during their next two events, including being shocked by Podgorica Kodio (MGL) in Constanta.
They will be extra determined to rediscover their best in a bid to win a fourth title of the season.
Antwerp will be led by defensive menace Dennis Donkor, while breakout stars Jonas Foerts and Vic Van Oosterwyck can heat up like they've come out of a microwave.
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Antwerp's push for a title won't be easy and they might face a familiar foe with top seeds Ub Huishan NE (SRB) aiming to end a rare slump.
After maybe the greatest run in 3x3 history, Ub are titleless from three straight events but have brought their A-Team across to Croatia led by No.1 ranked Strahinja Stojacic.
Liman Huishan NE (SRB) looked set for a title in Constanta before being stunned by Podgorica in the semis.
But they should be encouraged by the dominant performance from Chinese star Ning Zhang, who is forming a big three with legendary Stefan Kojic and Mihailo Vasic.
Vienna (AUT) and Lausanne (SUI) face off in a Pool D blockbuster, but enter in contrasting form.
The Swiss are hot after winning the Sansar Challenger, but the Austrians have been on the nose in recent times and will be hoping talisman Quincy Diggs can get them out of a funk.
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Utrecht (NED) loom as a threat to the top dogs and will face a litmus test early against Liman on Day One.
That match-up will see Maksim Kovacevic play his former team as Utrecht look to arrest a form slump.
Marijampole Mantinga (LTU) proved they can match it with anyone after a final four finish in Lausanne, where Evaldas Dziaugys dominated the paint.
If the lethal Lithuanians get going then they might just make a deep run, while there is much anticipation over Hannover (GER), who will again unleash 19-year-old dunking machine Denzel Agyeman.
There are a trio of Croatian teams in the draw and they'll need to get their passionate fans behind them to shock the world.
Pool A: Ub Huishan NE (SRB), Hannover (GER), QD
Pool B: Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL), Marijampole Mantinga (LTU), Qualifier
Pool C: Liman Huishan NE (SRB), Utrecht (NED), Svilaja 3BL (CRO)
Pool D: Vienna (AUT), Lausanne (SUI), Calabasas (USA)
What's at stake
The top 3 teams in Samobor will qualify for the Wuxi Masters on November 4-5 2023, as part of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
How to watch
The two-day extravaganza is on September 16-17 and you can follow it live on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube page.