RAUDONDVARIS (Lithuania) – World No.3 Riga Ghetto (LAT) will be aiming to enter the Mexico City Masters in winning fashion as they strive for glory at the Raudondvaris 3x3 Challenger on July 3 and 4, 2019.
The Latvians are the top seeds in Lithuania and enter as the favorite after a stellar start to the season. They won their first-ever Masters title in Doha and then finished runners-up in Chengdu.
Their superhero duo of Karlis Lasmanis and Nauris Miezis have been almost unstoppable and will be once again key to their success. Along with Agnis Čavars and Edgars Krumins, they are coming off a grueling FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2019 campaign, where Latvia won the silver medal.
However, sharpshooter Krumins will be missing in Lithuania and replaced by Artūrs Strēlnieks.
There will be plenty of competition in the 16-team tournament. No.2 seeds Ljubljana (SLO) always pack a punch and will be boosted by the return of big man Blaz Cresnar who suffered a leg injury in Chengdu.
The Slovenians have had mixed fortunes without ‘Birdman’ having impressively reached the semi-finals of the Ulaanbaatar Challenger but finished seventh at the subsequent event in Lipik.
No.3 seeds Vrbas (SRB) loom as a genuine contender after winning the Lipik Challenger last month. Danilo Mijatović and Strahinja Stojacic formed a deadly one-two punch to lead Vrbas to glory and will need to be closely watched by opponents.
No.8 seeds Sosnovy Bor CopRosatom (RUS) could be a dark horse having pushed world No.2 Liman (SRB) and Gagarin (RUS) at the recently concluded Haining Challenger. But their chances have taken a hit as they will be without scoring machine Alexander Zakharov, who was red hot in China.
The winner in Raudondvaris, which features 7 of the top 25 teams in the world, takes home $15,000 USD and there is $32,000 overall in prize money - a significant increase from $20,000 in challengers last year.
The two top teams will earn tickets for the Montreal Masters on September 7-8 in the eighth stop on this season’s FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
World No.1 Novi Sad (SRB), Liman (SRB), Zemun (SRB) and Piran (SLO) have already qualified for the event in Montreal.
Follow the Raudondvaris Challenger live on the official FIBA 3x3 YouTube channel.