Cebuanos set to witness prowess of European teams in Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3x3 World Tour Cebu Masters

·3 min read

Cebuano basketball fans will have the privilege of witnessing the European brand of basketball when several top teams arrive to compete in the Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3x3 World Tour Cebu Masters which will take place on October 1-2 at the SM Seaside in Cebu City, Cebu.

Four of the top 11 teams in the world—namely world number three Riga of Latvia, world number four Antwerp of Belgium, world number five Amsterdam of the Netherlands, and world number 11 Lausanne of Switzerland—will be flying to the Queen City of the South to vie for the honor of being crowned the masters of Cebu.

Riga, the 2020 FIBA 3x3 World Tour champions, will be one of the title favorites in the Cebu Masters.

When Latvia won the gold medal in last year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, the four players who made up the team were 6’7 Karlis Lasmanis who is the former number one 3x3 player in the world, 6’5 Agnis Cavars, 6’5 Edgars Krumins, and 6’3 Nauris Miezis. These are the same players who compose the Riga squad. The same team bagged the silver for Latvia in the 2019 FIBA 3x3 World Cup.

The Latvians will be hoping to carry over the momentum of their recent hot streak. The team emerged champion of Montreal Masters held last September 3-4. Lasmanis, the Tokyo Olympics top scorer, was named Montreal Masters MVP. Two weeks prior, the team placed second in the Quebec Challenger.

Expected to crowd Riga for the championship will be the Belgians. Antwerp is one of the winningest and most consistent teams in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour this year.

Antwerp won the championship of the Debrecen Masters in Hungary last August 27-28 by defeating world number two Ub of Serbia. They also won the Bordeaux Challenger in France and the Pristina Challenger in Kosovo last July and Dubai Expo 3x3 Super Quest last March.

The team also boasts of three third place finishes - Utsunomiya World Masters in Japan in May, the Novi Sad Challenger in Serbia in June, and the Edmonton Challenger in Canada in July.

The Antwerp squad will be bannered by three players who were part of the Belgian 3x3 national team which placed fourth in the 2022 FIBA3x3 World Cup. These are 6-foot-5 Thibaut Vervoort, ranked 5th in the world, 6-foot-5 Nick Celis, 9th in the world, and 6-foot-5 Bryan De Valck, 24th in the world. Completing the squad is 6’4 Dennis Donkor.

Amsterdam has been a steady force in the FIBA 3x3 scene in 2022 with four semifinal appearances and will be looking for a breakthrough title run in Cebu.

The team finished second to Liman in the Novi Sad Challenger. The Dutch squad also copped third place trophies in the Debrecen Masters, the Pristina Challenger, and Ulaanbaatar Challenger.

Two members of Amsterdam are mainstays of the Dutch national 3x3 team. 6’5 Dimeo van de Horst led Netherlands to the silver in the 2018 FIBA 3x3 World Cup held in Bocaue, Bulacan. He and 6’5 Arvin Slagter helped Netherlands to nab 5th place in the Tokyo Olympics and to another 5th place finish in the 2022 FIBA 3x3 World Cup.

Amsterdam will be reinforced by 6’6 Maksim Kovacevic of Serbia. Rounding out the Dutch roster is 6’8 Jan Driessen.

Lausanne has not yet submitted its final line-up, but it is expected to figure prominently in the race to the top spots in the Cebu Masters.