The FIBA 3×3 World Tour will reach its climax at the end of this week, when in Sendai, Japan, will take place the third FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final.
The best 12 teams in the world are ready to put up for a big show, after they fought hard all the season to gain their tickets to the big final.
Players from all over the world climbed the ladder of FIBA 3×3 Competition Network, from feeders and quests to challengers and World Tour Masters in order to achieve greatness on the biggest stage of them all, the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final.
With the reigning champions – Team Ljubljana, from Slovenia – already knocked out at the Lausanne Masters, last year’s runners-up Team Novi Sad look like the heavy favourites in Japan. After all, they dominated the Prague Masters and feature the number one 3×3 player in the world in the individual world ranking, Dusan Domovic Bulut.
The seeding of the teams is conducted automatically according to the 3×3 individual world ranking (of the three best players from each team), and the tournament will see some familiar faces of the World Tour.
Some of them are part of the historic Bucharest team, from Romania – the only squad to qualify for the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final in all three editions, and reached the quarter-finals in each of the previous finals, in Miami 2012 and Istanbul 2013.
Angel Santana and Catalin Vlaicu are the only players that took part in all three finals, and are the core members of a team that won the first ever 3×3 European Championships, held in Bucharest, in September.
One of the toughest pools will feature Team Kranj (Slovenia), Team Doha (Qatar) and Team Wukesong (Beijing. TeamKranj is back from last year’s Final when they beat Bucharest in the quarter-finals and lost in thrilling fashion against Novi Sad in the semi-finals. Team Doha owns several players who won the FIBA 3×3 World Championships for Qatar in Moscow, Russia on 5-8 June 2014 while Wukesong, the team that won the Beijing Masters earlier this year and is led by Chris Reaves, the top scorer at the FIBA 3×3 World Tour so far (51 points).
There is one team back from last year’s final in each pool as the former quarter-finalist from Saskatoon (CAN) highlight Pool D. The Chicago Masters winners will have to cope with a challenging pool with Trbovlje (SLO), who won the Lausanne Masters this season and made it to the first-ever FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final in 2012 as well (finishing fourth). The local favourites from Kobe (JPN) complete the pool.
Pool games will start at 12:20 local time (GMT+9) on Saturday, live on 3×3’s official YouTube channel. The top-two placed teams from each pool advance to a standard knock-out round which starts at the quarter-finals stage, from 12:45 (GMT+9) on Sunday.
All games will also be livestreamed on FIBA 3×3’s official YouTube channel.
Pool A: Novi Sad (1, SRB), Denver (8, USA), Santos (9, BRA)
Pool B: Bucharest (2, ROU), Sao Paulo (7, BRA), Manila West (10, PHI)
Pool C: Kranj (3, SLO), Doha (6, QAT), Wukesong (11, CHN)
Pool D: Trbovlje (4, SLO), Saskatoon (5, CAN), Kobe (12, JPN)