Reigning champions Ljubljana to play in FIBA 3x3 World Tour Saskatoon, Utsunomiya and Debrecen Masters

MIES (FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2017) – Two-time FIBA 3x3 World Tour winners Ljubljana (SLO) selected to play at the Saskatoon and Utsunomiya Masters and will also compete in Debrecen following the World Tour Masters draft on 31 March 2017.

For the first time in World Tour history, the top 8 teams in the FIBA 3x3 Team Ranking of the previous season (also known as the hard-seeded teams) were given a direct access to the FIBA 3x3 World Tour, according to the World Tour regulations.

The hard-seeded teams were allocated in pairs to Masters in this order:

- Top 1 & 8: Masters A
- Top 2 & 7: Masters B
- Top 3 & 6: Masters C
- Top 4 & 5: Masters D
- Top 1 & 4: Masters E
- Top 2 & 3: Masters F
- Top 1 & 2: Masters G

In other words,

- Every Masters gets 2 hard-seeded teams.
- Only the top 4 teams in the Ranking had an opportunity to pick a Masters; the teams ranked 5 to 8 were automatically seeded where the teams ranked 4 to 1 opted to play.
- The teams ranked 1 and 2 will automatically play in 3 Masters.
- The teams ranked 3 and 4 will automatically play in 2 Masters.
- The teams ranked 5 to 8 will automatically play in 1 Masters.

The number one team in the Ranking Novi Sad (SRB) opened the draft by using their first pick to play at the Mexico City Masters. It will be their first appearance in Mexico. The World Tour 2014 and 2015 winners won the only World Tour event they did in the Americas (2015 Rio de Janeiro Masters).

Following the World Tour regulations, the number 8 squad in the Ranking – Zemun (SRB) – also won a direct berth to the Mexico City Masters.

World Tour 2016 winners but second in the Team Ranking Ljubljana (SLO) selected the Saskatoon Masters with their second pick. This will mark Ljubljana’s first-ever appearance at a World Tour event in the Americas.

The number 7 squad in the FIBA 3x3 Team Ranking – Hamamatsu (JPN) – will join Ljubljana in Saskatoon in a possible rematch of the title game of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final 2016.

Piran (SLO) chose the Chengdu Masters with their third pick. It will be Piran’s first trip to Chengdu. However, their 4 players will have a fond memory of China after winning bronze for the Slovenian national team at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2016 in Guangzhou.

The number 6 squad in the FIBA 3x3 Team Ranking – Kranj (SLO) – also gets a direct spot to the Chengdu Masters.

Saskatoon (CAN) used their fourth pick on the Lausanne Masters, where they triumphed last season.

The number 5 squad in the FIBA 3x3 Team Ranking – Krakow R8 Basket (POL) (formerly known as Gdank (POL)) - will also make their return to the Olympic capital. This is where Krakow star Michael Hicks established the all-time scoring record at a World Tour event in 2015 with 53 points.

Novi Sad used their second pick and 5th pick overall on the Prague Masters, which they won back to back in 2013 and 2014.

This means the number 4 team in the ranking Saskatoon also makes their return to Prague, where they finished second last year.

Ljubljana went with Utsunomiya with their second personal pick and 6th pick overall.

As a result Piran also earned a ticket to Japan. Both teams played in Utsunomiya last year, both losing to Novi Sad in the semi-finals and final respectively.

With their third pick and 7th and final overall pick, Novi Sad gets a chance to go back to Debrecen. Their archrivals Ljubljana therefore gets an automatic spot too, opening the way to a possible rematch of the 2016 Debrecen Masters final.

A wildcard was granted this season to the hosts of each World Tour event. The organisers of the Saskatoon Masters have announced Team Saskatoon will compete on their home ground, meaning the Canadian side is guaranteed to play in at least 3 World Tour Masters this season.

Team Saskatoon and the rest of the World Tour teams will now look to earn their ticket to more Masters via the World Tour qualifiers (international challengers and national quests).