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Riga Ghetto blast competition at Wuxi 3x3 Challenger 2019
WUXI (China) - The number 3 team in the world Riga Ghetto (LAT) won the 1st 3x3 Challenger of the season in Wuxi, China on April 13-14, 2019 and here's our breakdown:
The winners: Riga Ghetto (LAT)
Last year the Latvians were the team that made the most money on the challenger circuit (5 titles, $55,000 in total). The team lived up to the hype in Wuxi with 5 wins in 5 games, including 4 games before the limit.
Number 1 in points and rebounds per game
Number 2 in least turnovers per game and free throw percentage
Their star player Karlis Lasmanis topped all scorers with 39 points (7.8 ppg) and was named MVP of the event. Interestingly the team was playing without their veteran Edgars Krumins. Nauris Miezis was making his official comeback after being sidelined for over a month with a leg injury.
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The runner-ups: Gagarin (RUS)
That's not the way a young team is supposed to play. Gagarin - whose players are 22 years old on average - managed to get a negative point difference on the tournament... despite winning 4 out of 5 games. The young Russians won their 4 games by 2 points or less.
The Russians finished 3rd in points per game and 1-point percentage. Most importantly for the fans, they had the most dunks on the tournament (including the dunk of the tournament courtesy of Dmitrii Cheburkin) and the 2nd amount of highlights per game. The star for Gagarin was once again sharpshooter Alexander Zuev who had a second-best 36 points on the weekend, including some cold-blooded shots in money time.
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The final: Riga Ghetto 21 - Gagarin 15
We had an entertaining final in Wuxi (8th fastest game of the tournament). Props to Gagarin for making it a ball game cause it really didn't look that way after they were down 8-2 and later 17-8. After crazy comeback wins in the quarter and semi-finals, Gagarin once again came from behind. Zuev fueled a 7-0 run with a big 2-pointer with 2 minutes to go to make it a one-possession game. But then Gagarin fell back to Earth. They would not score again. The fans will remember Lasmanis' double-digit effort in the final (10 points) but Nauris Miezis scored the game-winner and had himself a ball game. He had a very rare triple five with 7 points, 6 highlights (including 5 key assists) and 5 rebounds.
The reward: 2 tickets to the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Chengdu Masters
Both Riga Ghetto and Gagarin won their ticket to the 2nd Masters of the season in Chengdu. Novi Sad (SRB) and Ljubljana (SLO) were the only 2 teams to have already clinched a spot in the city of the pandas (based on their ranking). Riga will actually open their World Tour season this week at the Doha Masters. They qualified by winning the 1st edition of the United League Europe in St Petersburg.
1. Riga Ghetto (LAT)
2. Gagarin (RUS)
3. Liman (SRB)
4. Edmonton (CAN)
5. Ulaanbaatar (MGL)
9. Zemun (SRB)
11. Amsterdam (NED)
1. Karlis Lasmanis (Riga Ghetto, LAT) 39pts
2. Alexander Zuev (Gagarin, RUS) 36pts
3. Jordan Baker (Edmonton, CAN) 30pts
4. Mihailo Vasic (Liman, SRB) 28pts
5. Aleksandar Ratkov (Liman, SRB) 26pts
- Karlis Lasmanis may have led all scorers but Mihailo Vasic (Liman, SRB) had the best shooting value thanks to a whopping 17/21 inside the arc and 2/2 from downtown.
- Agnis Cavars (Riga Ghetto) nearly had twice more rebounds than his runner-up in the category.
- Clutch: 3 different Gagarin players had a buzzer-beater in the tournament (including Cheburkin, who had 2).
- We mentioned it before but Nauris Miezis had a freaking triple five in the most important game of the tournament (also he shot a perfect 5-5 from the line on the weekend)
- Steve Sir would have set a new historic record in the shoot-out contest (and earned $5,000) if we had played a World Tour event. The Edmonton (CAN) shooting ace scored 16 points, 1 more than Dejan Majstorovic's all-time record.
Next Challenger: Nanjing, China (April 20-21)