NOVI SAD (Serbia) - With their latest win over Sakiai Gulbele (LTU) in the final of the Seoul 3x3 Challenger, Liman (SRB) made history by punching their ticket to each one of the 11 FIBA 3x3 World Tour Masters in 2019.
The Nanjing Masters was the last one missing. Last weekend, the leaders in the World Tour standings qualified for the Chinese event after winning the Seoul Challenger. With their victory in South Korea, the Serbian squad became the first team to qualify for every Masters in a season since Novi Sad did it in 2017. At the time however, the World Tour only had 7 Masters.
The Serbian team started the year with 4 guaranteed Masters based on their #1 rank at the beginning of the season (Doha, Prague, Lausanne and Debrecen).
They moved from Liman (a neighborhood in the city of Novi Sad, Serbia) to Shanghai, China to focus on 3x3 and be stationed in Asia where a large number of Challengers (direct international qualifiers to the World Tour) are organized.
The strategy paid off: their wins in Kunshan, Haining, Yichang and Seoul got them a ticket to the Chengdu, Montreal, Los Angeles and Nanjing Masters respectively. Their second place in Ulaanbaatar and Sukhbaatar led them to Saskatoon and Jeddah.
They got their ticket to the Mexico City Masters in one of their rare European Challengers at home in Novi Sad, where they finished 3rd.
What makes it even more improbable is the fact Liman were battling injuries all year and lost their star and former number 1 player in the world Stefan Stojacic due to a calf injury. They finished 2nd in Sukhbaatar despite playing without subs, with just 3 players.