Impressive Liman claim title over Amsterdam at the Kunshan 3x3 Challenger
20 May 2019
KUNSHAN (China) – Serbian powerhouse Liman (SRB) tasted title success after easily beating Amsterdam (NED) at the fourth 3x3 Challenger of the season in Kunshan, China, on May 18-19, 2019.
Here’s what happened.
The winners: Liman (SRB) The world No.2 had performed well in the absence of superstar Stefan Stojacic but were unable to go all the way, notably at the Doha Masters where the Serbs finished second.
In Kunshan, they were pushed early by Russian team Sosnovy Bor Cop Rosatom 22-18 before impressively raising their game.
Liman got revenge over Pasig Chooks (PHI) with a 22-12 beat down after the Filipinos had beaten them in Doha. They then dominated the knockout stages with Stefan Kojic bringing his own two-piece in the final as Liman thrashed Amsterdam 21-11.
They were: Number 1 in points per game. Number 2 in one-point and two-point percentage.
In the continual absence of Stojacic, Liman’s players had to step up. Kojic, the No.8 ranked player in the world, particularly lifted his game and was the leading scorer in the tournament with 41 points.
Kojic was brilliant when it mattered most with 9 points in the quarter-finals against Korolev (RUS) but saved his best for last.
Against Amsterdam, he scored 12 points and became Steph Curry from another postcode connecting on all four of his shots from behind the arc.
The runners-up: Amsterdam (NED)
The world No.4 had struggled so far this season but rebounded back to form nicely in Kunshan. They survived a tough 21-19 opener against Korolev before producing their best in a 21-18 upset over red-hot Riga Ghetto in the semi-finals.
Chemistry and team balance shines: Amsterdam’s three key players Aron Roije, Dimeo Van der Horst and Jesper Jobse played their roles. It was an event performance from the Dutch trio with each player averaging more than 5 points per game.
Liman were determined not to let the title slip on this occasion. Kojic and Maksim Kovacevic took turns in splashing from deep as the Serbs raced out to a big early lead. It wasn’t just their outside game that dazzled, a pretty spin move in the paint from Mihailo Vasic saw Liman dominate everywhere.
Only a thunderous dunk by Jesper Jobse provided cheer for Amsterdam but this game was never in doubt. Kojic went bang, bang as Liman celebrated a long-awaited triumph.
The reward: Two tickets to the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Chengdu Masters
Liman and Amsterdam won their tickets to the second Masters of the season in Chengdu. The China event is headlined by world No.1 Novi Sad while Riga Ghetto had already qualified as the Latvians aim to win their second straight Masters.
Key Stats: -Seventh seed Kranj (SLO) were the only team outside the top four seeds to make it to the semi-finals. -Riga Ghetto’s win over ZhongGang Edu (CHN) was the fastest game of the season (5’21’’ of playing time). The final was the second fastest game of the tournament (6’40”). -Nebojsa Kilijan was sensational for Ralja Intergalactic (SRB) averaging a tournament-high 10.3 point per game and he also finished second in rebounds (7 per game). -Stefan Kojic was named MVP of the Kunshan Challenger. He averaged 8.2 points per game and provided more entertainment than the finale of Games of Thrones with a tournament-best 5.4 highlights per game.