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Riga, Antwerp, Amsterdam lead Euro field for Cebu Masters

In the world of FIBA 3×3, the Europeans remain the gold standard in men’s basketball.

Eight of the top ten countries in the FIBA 3×3 world rankings are from Europe.

In the FIBA 3×3 World Tour, 18 out of the top 30 teams come out of European cities.

Filipino fans will have the privilege of witnessing some of them in the flesh in the Chooks-to-Go FIBA 3×3 World Tour Cebu Masters which will take place on October 1-2 at the SM Seaside in Cebu City, Cebu.

In fact, four of the top 11 teams in the world will be flying to the Queen City of the South.

World No. 3 Riga of Latvia, No. 4 four Antwerp of Belgium, world No. 5 Amsterdam of the Netherlands, and No. 11 Lausanne of Switzerland will be vying for the honor of being crowned the masters of Cebu.

Riga, the 2020 FIBA 3×3 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-foot-7 Karlis Lasmanis who is the former number one 3×3 player in the world, 6-foot-5 Agnis Cavars, 6-foot-5 Edgars Krumins, and 6-foot-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 3×3 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.

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Expected to crowd Riga for the championship will be the Belgians. Antwerp is one of the winningest and most consistent teams in the FIBA 3×3 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 3×3 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 3×3 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-foot-4 Dennis Donkor.

Amsterdam has been a steady force in the FIBA 3×3 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 3×3 team. 6-foot-5 Dimeo van de Horst led the Netherlands to the silver in the 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup held in Bocaue, Bulacan. He and 6-foot-5 Arvin Slagter helped the Netherlands to nab 5th place in the Tokyo Olympics and to another 5th place finish in the 2022 FIBA 3×3 World Cup.

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Amsterdam will be reinforced by 6-foot-6 Maksim Kovacevic of Serbia. Rounding out the Dutch roster is 6-foot-8 Jan Driessen.2022-FIBA-3x3-Dubai-Super-Quest-Cebu-Chooks-vs-Antwerp_7479-1 Riga, Antwerp, Amsterdam lead Euro field for Cebu Masters 3x3 Basketball Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 News  - philippine sports news

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.

The Swiss certainly have proven they are a top-caliber squad. After three consecutive ninth-place finishes in the Bordeaux, Hamburg, and Pristina Challengers, the team surprised everyone but themselves when they made the finals of the World Tour Lausanne Masters.

On their way to the championship round, the Swiss defeated Ub and San Juan in the Pool stage before downing Antwerp in the quarterfinals and Amsterdam in the semifinals. Their dream run was halted when they fell in a tightly-contest finals match to Ub, 15-21.

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