ULAANBAATAR (Mongolia) - After a breakout FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2022, Mongolian rising star Anand Ariunbold is set to take his highly entertaining game to new heights this year.
The 25-year-old stamped himself as one of the best players in Asia after averaging 7 pgg on the World Tour as the leader of Sansar MMC Energy and he was part of Mongolia's campaigns at the Crelan FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2022 and FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup 2022.
He stamped himself as the real deal by torching opponents in the Manila Masters, where he scored 30 points in 4 games.
The 6ft. 5in (1.96m) flame thrower poured in buckets with style marked by the lanky Ariunbold having the insane ability to twist his body in the air like an Olympic gymnast.
Such his ridiculous shot making ability, Ariunbold was voted by the fans as the Most Spectacular Player on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour 2022.
He beat out some of 3x3's best players such as Strahinja Stojacic (Ub Huishan NE) and Thibaut Vervoort (Antwerp) to underline his popularity among fans.
As he steadily rises in 3x3, the next challenge ahead of Ariunbold this year is to become recognized among the World Tour's elite.
To do that he needs to help Sansar get onto the World Tour more regularly having last year only qualified to the Masters in Manila and Cebu.
The time might also be right for Ariunbold to take the Mongolian torch from their talisman Delgernyam Davaasambuu, who led them in scoring at the World Cup and Asia Cup .
The 32-year-old has been a pioneer in the rise of 3x3 in Mongolia, where the one-hoop game is the most popular team sport in the East Asian landlocked country.
Davaasambuu, built like a bull to symbolize the country's hero Genghis Khan, also is the leader of Ulaanbaatar MMC Energy, who have long been Mongolia's best team and a regular on the World Tour.
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But if Ariunbold goes up a level then Sansar might well become the new top dogs of Mongolia, who are becoming a breeding ground of talented 3x3 players due to the game's professional status there.
With the Asia Cup 2023 in Singapore set to launch the 3x3 season in March, we'll soon see whether Anand Ariunbold has taken the leap in his career.
One thing we do know is that he'll unleash a slew of crazy moves on the Enlio court much to the delight of his growing number of fans.