One reason why each team can win the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Abu Dhabi Final 2022
5 Dec 2022
ABU DHABI (UAE) - After an insane regular season of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2022, surely the best ever, it's time to decide the crown with the showpiece Abu Dhabi Final on December 10-11.
The talent of the World Tour has been crazy deep, so much so that every team legit has a chance to win the title. Here is a reason why every team can take out the World Tour's biggest prize.
1. Ub (SRB): The best team for half the season
There is good reason why they are the No.1 seed after an utterly dominant first half of the season saw them enter the record books with four straight Masters wins.
They might have thudded back to earth since but we all know the level Ub can hit and they just have to start as one of the absolute favorites.
Oh and they have the No.1 player in the world as Strahinja Stojacic tries to prove that he's the best player in the game right now.
2. Liman (SRB): They are the defending World Tour Final champs
They've perhaps fallen behind Ub as the best Serbian team, but Liman haven't slipped - it's more of a case of other teams getting better as the standard of 3x3 increases.
But these dudes are the defending champs having won the World Tour Final for the first time so memorably last year. They often play better with their backs against the wall so expect Liman to fire on all cylinders once again on the big stage.
3. Antwerp (BEL): Their best can beat anyone
The problem with the Belgians is that they can be hot and cold. You don't always know what to expect but they've earned respect after they won the Debrecen Masters with a thrilling victory over Ub in the final.
And they boast Thibaut Vervoort, who is always 'Must See TV' when he's feeling it. He can go toe-to-toe with anyone and that gives the Belgians confidence of Ws every time they step on the 3x3 court.
4. Riga (LAT): They were the best team when reunited
Once superstar Karlis Lasmanis landed Flight KLM on the Enlio court, Riga produced one of the greatest runs ever in 3x3 history with a 27-game winning streak.
Lasmanis and fellow superhero Nauris Miezis have never looked better as they took turns in flattening opponents with their one-two punch. Even though their win streak ended in Hong Kong, Riga probably start favorite in Abu Dhabi as they seek a second World Tour Final title in the last three years.
The Dutch Masters have had an ultra consistent season without winning a title. They keep falling in the semis so hopefully they've had an exorcism over their curse.
But Amsterdam should feel like they can go all the way because Dimeo van der Horst aka 'Dimes' is a walking bucket and basically unstoppable when he's feeling it.
He's long been a star but has gone up a level, as underlined by an insane 7.1ppg compared to 5.8ppg last season, and if van der Horst is the best player in Abu Dhabi then Amsterdam should win their first title in 2022.
6. Sakiai Gulbele (LTU): They have the most underrated duo in 3x3
The lethal Lithuanians are the most recent Masters champs having won in Hong Kong to end a three-year title drought on the World Tour.
They've been firing in the second half of the season and boast maybe the most underrated duo in 3x3 - Marijus Uzupis and Aurelijus Pukelis, who combined for 12.5 ppg on the World Tour.
If they simultaneously fire then Sakiai can continue their hot streak.
7. Vienna (AUT): 'Mr Robot' has somehow rediscovered his best
Stefan Stoacic is one of the best 3x3 players ever. The ex-Liman star was recruited to Vienna ahead of the season as a player-coach but a serious knee injury meant his playing career was likely over.
But he's made the biggest comeback since Pete Mitchell in Top Gun:Maverick as Stojacic has shown no ill-effects from the injury.
He's played lights out and maybe even better than his Liman peak as he showed with a MVP performance to lead Vienna to glory in Paris.
If he's firing in Abu Dhabi then Vienna can go all the way.
8. Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy (MGL): Steve Sir remains a sniper
The Mongolians should start their own travel show because they've been globe trekkers in 2022. Unfortunately, it has not led to title success but that could change in Abu Dhabi if Steve Sir can make it rain from deep.
The Canadian legend might just be the best shooter we've seen on the half-court and he hasn't lost this magical touch with a deadly 37% from 2 this World Tour season.
The Americans are athletic beasts so it's unfair that these dudes are assassins from 2-point land.
They have the best 2-point percentage at a crazy 37% with Robbie Hummel (45.5%) and Damon Huffman (42.4%) leading the way.
If the team is on fire like they are playing Space Jam then it might be a wrap as they look to make amends after losing the World Tour Final 2019.
10. Omaha 3BALL (USA): They carry themselves like champs
The new American power are larger than life entertainers and have swagger on and off the court. These dudes are getting mighty close on the World Tour with two semi-final finishes in their last three Masters.
With Dylan Travis lighting up from every angle and Malik Hluchoweckyj a human highlight reel, Omaha have the confidence to take down 3x3's powerhouses on the big stage.
11. Lausanne Sport (SUI): This experienced group won't be intimidated
This Swiss team have been together for a long time in a rollercoaster journey. Their best is amazing - as they always show at their home Masters - but inconsistency has often been a problem.
But Lausanne have played in a lot of big games over the years and won't be overawed by the occasion. It's hard to be intimidated when they boast speedy Gilles Martin, who can flat out embarrass defenders, and high-flyer Wes Molteni.
We don't know what to expect but it sure will be entertaining.
12. Utrecht (NED): Worthy de Jong is a natural born 3x3 killer
They might be the newcomers but Utrecht already demands your attention after they reached the final in Paris. And their star Worthy de Jong is one of the best players around, whose fearless approach makes him seem like he's been playing 3x3 forever.
He's scared of absolutely no one and that swagger has rubbed off on his teammates, so don't be surprised if No.12 seed Utrecht shocks the world in Abu Dhabi.