10/06/2024
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All we learned from FIBA 3x3 World Tour Ulaanbaatar Masters 2024

ULAANBAATAR (Mongolia) - The FIBA 3x3 World Tour's first visit to Mongolia as expected lived up to the hype with the Ulaanbaatar Masters putting on a show for the 3x3-crazy fans. 

Let's take a look at the two-day spectacle played on June 8-9.

Team work makes the dream work for Amsterdam 

Powerhouse Amsterdam (NED) are on the board in 2024. And they recorded a W perhaps a little bit differently than we imagined. Y'all thought Worthy de Jong went on a scoring binge, right? 

The Dutch hoops legend was most certainly Hype Worthy and delivered an MVP performance, but he did not have to flat out dominate.

It was a team effort with sniper Arvin Slagter on fire as he put on a shooting exhibition on Day Two to perfectly complement de Jong. 

Julian Jaring and big fella Jan Driessen also played important roles to make Amsterdam impossible to stop.

With his scoring load eased, de Jong was able to exert his energy in other areas and he was particularly a menace on D as he submitted a stellar all-round performance.  

These Dutch Masters have an early season title, but you feel they are just getting started. 

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Lausanne are inching closer to a breakout title

So close! The Swiss Maestros almost clinched their first ever World Tour title only to fall agonizingly short in the final. 

But Lausanne (SUI) are getting closer and are building on from the momentum late last season when they became a more consistent team. 

Gone are the days when Lausanne was trick or treat - back when they were unpredictable. These days Lausanne are a force and strengthened by the inclusion of Malik Hluchoweckyj, whose insane handles were again on show. 

But it was Frenchman Raphael Wilson who was unstoppable as he dripped wet on the half-court to lead all scorers with 43 points and he also finished top of player-value (44.7).

He proved he had ice in his veins with the Maurice Lacroix Buzzer Beater two-ball in OT to down young guns Kandava Turiba (LAT) in an  epic semi-final.

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You fancy Lausanne will end their World Tour drought sooner rather than later. 

Latvia's Next Gen step up

The hype is very much real. There was much anticipation over Kandava Turiba (LAT) and they did not disappoint with the Next Gen of Latvian 3x3 making a statement to the world. 

Kandava, seeded 11th, made an immediate impression by beating eventual champ Amsterdam and then upset hometown heroes Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL) after Kristaps Gluditis went bang from downtown. 

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Their momentum continued when they beat Utsunomiya BREX EXE (JPN) in the quarters before suffering heartbreak in the semis. But Kandava will bounce back quickly because their confidence is sky high. 

Gluditis hit shots all over the half-court, while talented youngster Francis Lacis was a dunking machine. 

You better look out because these Latvians are making a name for themselves. 

Ub Huishan NE are facing a reality check 

0-3. It doesn't quite sit right after seeing No.1 Ub Hushian NE (SRB) dominate the last two years, especially early in the seasons. 

But 2024 is different and the World Tour is deeper and more talented. As Ub are finding out the hard way having fallen in the quarters for the second straight event. They are still titleless to start the season. 

There were warning signs on Day One, but Ub managed to get through Japanese teams Utsunomiya BREX EXE and Saitama ALPHAS EXE.  

But they went cold against Amsterdam in the quarters and Ub are now faced with the growing reality that they are, right now, not the best team in the world. Things can change quickly, however, and it would be foolish to write off such champions. 

It wasn't all doom and gloom with legendary brothers Stefan and Strahinja Stojacic playing their first World Tour event as teammates. They showcased the type of chemistry that only siblings can share as the Stojacic bros both finished on 14 points for the tournament. 

 

As expected, Ulaanbaatar lit it up on its World Tour debut as hosts 

Mongolia have stamped itself as a 3x3 powerhouse nation and hosted many events over the years. But finally the World Tour arrived in the 3x3-crazy country and it was well worth the wait. 

There is such a vibe to playing in Mongolia with the fans absolutely passionate about the half-court game.

The historical Sukhbaatar Square served as a spine-tingling setting as the Ulaanbaatar Masters lived up to the hype and produced an unforgettable event. 

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