Amsterdam HiPRO rediscover top form to win FIBA 3x3 Quebec Challenger 2023

21 Aug 2023

QUEBEC (Canada) - MVP Worthy de Jong was unstoppable in his return as Amsterdam HiPRO (NED) found top form to claim the FIBA 3x3 Quebec Challenger 2023.

Here's what happened.

The winners: Amsterdam HiPRO (NED)

They were: No.1 most points scored, fewest points allowed and highlights

The Dutchmen had arrived in Quebec determined to end a form slump after three disappointing events in a row, including a Day One exit at the FIBA 3x3 Belgrade Challenger.

But the return of superstar de Jong was the boost Amsterdam needed although they suffered an early setback when sniper Antonio Ralat again called game for San Juan (PUR).

Amsterdam got back on track by defeating fan favorites Toronto KBA (CAN) before unleashing their best in the knockout stages against Riga (LAT) and Futian (CHN).

They held on against the might of Paris (FRA) to claim their third title of the season.

The electric de Jong deservedly won the MVP after pouring in a leading 45 points and finishing No.1 in player-value (40.9) to continue his incredible season. He also had triple-fives in the quarters and semis.

But it wasn't a one-man show with Maarten Bouwknecht proving why he is a breakout player on the pro circuit with a lights out performance in the final. He finished third in points (30) and player-value (35.3).

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The runner's up: Paris (FRA)

Paris came within an inch of a second title of the season after an unbeaten run until falling short to Amsterdam in a thriller of a final.

The Frenchmen proved they aren't far below the absolute elite level of the pro circuit with several devastating performances, including blowing out Futian 22-13 on day one.

They had tighter wins against dangerous Omaha (USA) and San Juan on Day Two in another eye-catching event for Paris.

Sizzling Seguela: Real ones already know, but superstar Franck Seguela can go toe-to-toe with anyone on the planet.

The 26-year-old finished second in points (36) and player-value (40.3) in another spectacular performance as he again showed off his deadly inside-outside game.

Seguela had strong support from Jules Rambaut, who scored 26 points.

The Final: Amsterdam HiPRO 21-Paris 19

There was a lot of hype over the match-up between superstars Worthy de Jong and Franck Seguela, but it was Paris' other players who got them off to a hot start and a 6-0 lead.

Amsterdam needed ignition and it was de Jong who started them with a two-piece as the Dutch Masters went on an 8-1 run to take the lead. Maarten Bouwknecht then caught fire and went bang, bang as Amsterdam skipped ahead 12-8.

Paris wouldn't roll over in a see-saw contest, but Bouwknecht had an out of body experience as he scored three quick points to get Amsterdam on the brink at 20-14.

Having been well held, Seguela needed to snap out of his funk quickly and he did exactly that with five straight points to get Paris within one.

Amsterdam appeared on the cusp of an epic collapse before Bouwknecht fittingly sealed the deal with a jumper to finish with an insane 14 points as the Dutchmen returned back to the winner's list.

The reward: Three tickets to the Cebu Masters

Amsterdam HiPRO, San Juan and Futian joined already qualified Paris, Ub Huishan NE, Vienna, Miami, Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy, Wuxi and Taichung Hong Jia with tickets to the Cebu Masters on September 23-24.

Final Standings:
1. Amsterdam HiPRO (NED)
2. Paris (FRA)
3. San Juan (PUR)
4. Futian (CHN)
5. Beijing (CHN)

Top Scorers:
1. Worthy de Jong (Amsterdam HiPRO, NED) 45 pts
2. Franck Seguela (Paris, FRA) 36 pts
3. Maarten Bouwknecht (Amsterdam HiPRO, NED) 30 pts
4. Thibaut Vervoort (Futian, (CHN) 28 pts
5. Antonio Ralat (San Juan, PUR) 27 pts

Key Stats:
- Second and third seeds Beijing and Riga both crashed at the quarters after winning just one of three games.
- Superstar Nauris Miezis did all he could for Beijing against Futian in the quarters with a triple-five of 5 points, 6 rebounds and 6 highlights but it wasn't enough.
- Antonio Ralat led San Juan to the semi-finals and continues to be a rising star after finishing fifth overall in scoring, third in highlights and he had a trademark buzzer beater against Amsterdam HiPRO on Day One.