Best moments in Abu Dhabi's 3x3 history ahead of World Tour Final

6 Dec 2022

ABU DHABI (UAE) - Some of 3x3's greatest moments have happened in Abu Dhabi, which will host the showpiece World Tour Final on December 10-11, 2022.

To get you hyped, let's look back at nine unforgettable moments in the United Arab Emirates' capital.

Lipek vs Kilganon dunk contest (2015)

This is simply one of the greatest dunk contests of all time. Canadian Jordan 'Mission Impossible' Kilganon and Rafal 'Lipek' Lipinski went toe-to-toe as they outdid each other with insane dunks that seven years later remain hard to believe.

Kilganon lived up to his nickname because he performed stunts that should be considered in the next Mission Impossible film. His craziest was jumping over two motorbikes, but that wasn't quite good enough because the Pole stole the show.

By paying homage to classic film White Men Can't Jump, while also jumping over a trio of volunteers like he was on Emirates Airline, Lipek proved why he's one of the best ever to prevail in a dunk contest that has never been forgotten.


Manila North shock the world (2015)

In a great upset, representing 3x3's unpredictability, Manila North stunned Team Doha with a tense 16-14 victory. Calvin Abueva became an instant Filipino legend with a starring role to lead Manila North into a surprise quarter-final berth.

There were scenes of jubilation in the crowd with the loud Filipino fans turning Abu Dhabi into downtown Manila on this historic night.


Bulut and Dejan save Novi Sad vs Piran/Trbovlje (2015)

Dusan Bulut and Dejan Majstorovic often produced 3x3 miracles. This was one of their best. Defending champs Novi Sad were headed for a shock semi-final exit when they fell behind against Piran (who were Trbovlje back then).

With seconds left, Majstorovic aka 'the Maestro' proved why he has nerves of steel when he hit a tough contested two to tie the scores and force OT.

It was then Bulut's turn to take over with 'Mr Bullutproof' draining a two to break Piran's hearts and send Novi Sad into a third straight decider in the World Tour Final.

The one-two punch of 'Mr Bullutproof' and the ‘Maestro’ was simply nasty.

Caguas buzzer beater vs Kranj (2016)

No.12 seed Caguas were big underdogs against No.5 Kranj but the Puerto Ricans never fear anyone as they matched their fancied opponent.

With scores locked at 20, up stepped Jonathan Garcia who had to be the hero after torching Kranj all game long.

He saved his best for last when he launched to the rack to take on Kranj's defenders, where Garcia took the contact and then spun in mid-air before flipping up an incredible game-winner.

In that game, Jonathan Garcia was known as 'Air Garcia' after playing hero.

Hercegovac scores 50 points, leads Ljubljana to 2016 title

Living up to his dope nickname, Jasmin Hercegovac proved he really was 'the Iceman' after leading an unfancied Ljubljana to a dominant title run.

Hercegovac made Abu Dhabi wet with a dazzling 50 points in 5 games. He was at his absolute best at the business end with an insane 13 points in the semi-final against Caguas and then 11 points in the final against surprise packets Hamamatsu.

It was the crowning moment for Hercegovac and Ljubljana.

Miller wins dunk contest (2016)

It was Miller Time during another great dunk contest in Abu Dhabi when Vadim Poddubchenko went to another level to defeat American high flyer Doug Anderson.

We still don't know how he did it - maybe his shoes had secret powers - but 'Miller' made the ridiculous look easy highlighted by one filthy dunk when he slammed over two people on a motorbike!

Miller Time equals Winning Time.

Hamamatsu's giant-killing run (2016)

In one of the great giant-killing runs, Japanese team Hamamatsu almost went all the way as the 11th seed reached the decider of the World Tour Final 2016.

Their hot run started when they beat No.3 seed Piran on Day 1 then highly-talented Chicago 21-16 in the quarters, where they held future NBA player Alfonzo McKinnie to just 1 point!

But their best performance was beating World Tour Final champs Novi Sad in the semis with a convincing 21-14 win, which still remains one of the craziest upsets in the event's history.

Hamamatsu finally ran out of gas in the final against Ljubljana but their giant-killing run has provided inspiration for many underdogs in the years since.

Bjelica's nasty crossover (2016)

It's quite obvious why Dragan Bjelica is nicknamed 'Mr Crossover'. If he didn't know, Jonathan Garcia from Caguas sure found out the hard way after his ankles broke from Bjelica, who unleashed one of his best crossovers.

Bjelica was a master of this crazy move and became a fan favorite for it.

Carlos' dunking delight (2021)

As you read above, Ukraine’s Vadim ‘Miller’ Poddubchenko is one of the best dunkers ever seen on the 3x3 circuit. But he met his match last year when David Carlos aka ‘Air David’ from the Philippines took the crown.

With a scorpion dunk over a volunteer, 'Air David' wanted something more difficult so on his final dunk attempt of the night he risked it all by somehow clearing three volunteers.

With his typically passionate Filipino fans willing him on, Abu Dhabi on this night was David Carlos' personal aerospace in a memorable dunk contest upset.

FIBA