Who will make it to the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Utsunomiya Final 2019?
11 Oct 2019
MIES (Switzerland) – Ahead of the Nanjing Masters, 9 teams have already mathematically clinched their spot for the Final. Here’s a look at who’s most likely to get the last 3 tickets.
With just 2 Masters left (Nanjing this weekend and Jeddah next week), 9 teams already know they’re travelling to Japan in November.
Liman (SRB) have already secured 1st place and the 60,000 USD cheque for finishing 1st in the World Tour standings before the final. Even if they finished 12th in the last 2 events, neither Novi Sad (SRB) nor Riga Ghetto (LAT) could leapfrog them in the next 2 weeks.
Novi Sad (SRB) have a 100-point lead over Riga Ghetto (LAT) but the number 1 team in the world will only play in Nanjing. Riga Ghetto will be missing their superstar Karlis Lasmanis (who’s out for the rest of the season) but are one of 5 teams to play in the last 2 Masters (with Liman, Sakiai Gulbele (LTU), Utsunomiya (JPN) and Shanghai SSLC (CHN)).
Princeton (USA), Piran (SLO), NY Harlem (USA), Edmonton (CAN), Amsterdam (NED) and Zemun (SRB) are guaranteed to make it to the final. It is mathematically impossible at this stage that more than 3 teams surpass any of them in 2 Masters.
The 10th team in the standings Sakiai Gulbele (LTU) is a safe pick to make it to Utsunomiya considering they won their last Masters (in Montreal) and they will play in both Nanjing and Jeddah.
At this stage, Lausanne (SUI) and Vrbas (SRB) are ranked 11th and 12th in the standings (with 125 and 120 points respectively) and would make it to the final if there were no Masters left.
Unfortunately neither of them will play any additional Masters and are at the mercy of a come-back from the following teams:
1. Jeddah (KSA) – 13th with 100 points This brand new team impressed in Debrecen (4th) and Los Angeles (7th). If they make it to the quarter-finals in their “home” Masters in Jeddah, they will automatically move past both Lausanne and Vrbas and almost assuredly get their ticket to Utsunomiya.
2. Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL) – 17th with 74 points We never thought the Mongolian powerhouse would stand a chance to make it to the final after finishing 12th in Lausanne 2 months ago. The team looked completely different in Los Angeles last month and made it all the way to the semi-finals with victories over Lausanne and Piran. After becoming the first all-Asian team to win a FIBA 3x3 Challenger in Jeju last weekend, they get one last chance to stamp their ticket to the final. For this to happen, the team would likely have to go to the semi-finals in Jeddah. Fourth place means 60 points, which would put them ahead of both Lausanne and Vrbas (and potentially Jeddah).
3. Balanga Chooks (PHI) – 22nd with 45 points The Filipinos caught our attention on opening day at the World Tour this year, beating Riga Ghetto and Moscow Inanomo (RUS) in Doha. But since they lost to Liman (SRB) in the quarter-finals, they haven’t been able to make it to the World Tour again. With their good winning percentage (67% so far), a second place in Jeddah would be enough to leapfrog Vrbas and win the tie-breaker over Lausanne. But if both Jeddah and Ulaanbaatar shine in Saudi Arabia (or if the next teams on this list do crazy things), a win in Jeddah may be the only way for the team to go to Utsunomiya.
4. Tokyo Dime (JPN) – 28th with 35 points Another team we haven’t seen since Doha. Tomoya Ochiai doesn’t have much choice. To compete in the final on his home soil, 'The Worm' would have to lead his team to victory in Jeddah.
5. Utsunomiya (JPN) - 43th with 16 points The Japanese team (including 2 Serbian players) did not impress in Lausanne earlier this year (2 losses, 11th overall) but is one of the 5 teams who will play in the last 2 Masters of the season. Utsunomiya need at least 126 points to realistically have a chance to go to the final. To earn 110 points, the squad would have to get to 2 semi-finals or 1 final and 1 quarter-final.
6. Shanghai SSLC (CHN) – 0 point Just like Utsunomiya, the Chinese team from Shanghai SSLC plays both in Nanjing and Jeddah. The team has never played at the World Tour and with Serbian 3x3 rising star Goran Vidovic, we know they have a real sniper. Things should look a lot clearer after Nanjing but technically Shanghai could move past Vrbas and Lausanne by winning 1 Masters and qualifying for the quarter-finals of the second, finishing 2nd and at least 6th or finishing 3rd and at least 4th. Not an easy feat for a rookie team.
7. Lyon (FRA) – 32nd with 20 points The French team can still technically make it to the final but the odds are a little extreme. The conditions would be that Lyon win in Jeddah AND none of these 6 teams above move past Vrbas. Jeddah would have to be eliminated in the pool phase for this to happen for instance.
Last season, from the 12 teams who ranked in the Top 12 two Masters before the end of the regular season, 11 ended up going to the Final. After finishing 5th in the very last Masters of the season in Penang, Delhi 3BL (IND) moved past Belgrade (SRB) and narrowly edged out NY Harlem 3Ball (USA) and Ralja Intergalatic (SRB) for 12th place.