Riga Ghetto and NY Harlem set to resume heated rivalry at Huaian 3x3 Challenger

19 Jul 2019

HUAIAN (China) – World No.3 Riga Ghetto (LAT) and in-form NY Harlem (USA) are the top contenders in the loaded Huaian Challenger on July 20 and 21, 2019.

After missing out on the Saskatoon Masters, Riga will be looking for a silver lining in Huaian where they are the top seeds. The Doha Masters champions are looking to rebound around falling in the quarter-finals in Mexico City earlier this month.

With Karlis Lasmanis expected to take flight in China, the Latvians are tipped to be the team to beat but might need to get through the dangerous NY Harlem who they lost to in Mexico City in a pool stage thriller.

NY Harlem have been one of the best teams in recent times and showed off their sublime talents in Mexico City, where they beat Riga and Liman en route to a second-place finish.

Their chances of going all the way have been made harder without Dominque Jones aka Disco Domo who won’t be dancing in Huaian and they are also missing block machine Marcel Esonwune.


They have been replaced by big man Joey King and the always reliable David Seagers.

No.2 seeds Gagarin (RUS) also deserve to be among the favorites after recent strong performances.

They have enjoyed playing Challengers in China with a runners-up performance in Yichang and finishing third in Haining. Stanislav Sharov has been in sizzling touch and will be eying an MVP performance, but the Russians will be without young star Alexander Zuev who dominated in Yichang.

Ljubljana (SLO) round out the top four seeds and have been strengthened by star Jasmin Hercegovac who returns after missing their winless campaign in Ekaterinburg. He replaces big man Blaz Cresnar aka ‘Birdman’.

A dark horse for the title might be Lausanne (SUI) who are one of the rising 3x3 teams and showcased their talents with a runners-up finish at the Poitiers Challenger.

Since returning from a long layoff on the circuit, 24-year-old star Natan Jurkovitz has been balling as he presses his claims to be one of the very best players in 3x3.

There are six Chinese teams in the 16-side tournament headlined by No.5 seeds Beijing (CHN).

The winner in Huaian 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) and No.2 Liman (SRB) headline the event in Canada. Piran (SLO), Zemun (SRB), Ralja Intglactic (SRB) and Sakiai Gulbele (LTU) have also qualified.

Follow the Huaian Challenger live on the official FIBA 3x3 YouTube channel.

FIBA