Red-hot de Jong leads Amsterdam HiPro to victory at FIBA 3x3 Pristina Challenger

17 Jul 2023

PRISTINA (Kosovo) - Worthy de Jong continued his stunning form on the pro circuit after leading Amsterdam HiPRO (NED) to victory at the FIBA 3x3 Pristina Challenger.

Here's what happened.

The winners: Amsterdam HiPRO (NED)

They were: No.1 most highlights

In case there was any doubt, de Jong has been the recruit of the season having been in a purple patch in his debut season for Amsterdam.

Only Ub Huishan NE superstar Strahinja Stojacic can lay claim to a better season so far with de Jong finishing No.1 in scoring (38) and No.2 in player value (31).

He helped Amsterdam clinch back-to-back titles but they did it the hard way after a tough Day One, where they squeezed past Versailles (FRA) before losing to Warsaw Lotto (POL).

They went up a level against NY Harlem (USA) with a 21-11 thrashing before their title was secured after dramatic victories over Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL) and Fribourg (SUI).

De Jong wasn't a one-man show with Maarten Bouwknecht once again starring after his breakout at the Fribourg Challenger.

The Dutch Masters are proving they are in the absolute top tier of teams on the pro circuit.

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The runner's-up: Fribourg (SUI)

After a semi-final finish at the home Challenger, Fribourg's solid form continued in Pristina.

The No.9 seeds started with an agonizing defeat against Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL) before winning through to Day Two with a comfortable victory over dangerous Tel-Aviv (ISR).

The Swiss were on a mission as they upset Raudondvaris Hoptrans (LTU) in the quarters before a tight win over talented Versailles.

They couldn't quite secure a first title of the season but there is clearly a lot to like about Fribourg, who are intent on making noise on the pro circuit.

Jumpin' Jurkovic: Natan Jurkovic has long been a fan favorite and it's easy to see why after a typically eye-catching performance in Pristina.

The 6ft. 8in (2.02m) bulldozer was in attack mode and his aggressiveness paid dividends with Jurkovic finishing No.1 in player value (31.4) and No.3 in scoring (26).

He combined brilliantly with Jonathan Dubas in a two-headed monster that terrorized opponents.

Jurkovic, of course, rattled those poor rims to finish with six dunks in an explosive effort to lead Fribourg to a runners-up finish.

The Final: Amsterdam HiPRO 21- Fribourg 17

To the shock of no one, this was another pulsating decider on this magical pro circuit season so far.

There was more hype than the release of Barbie over the battle between excitement machines Worthy de Jong and Natan Jurkovic.

The flying Dutchman made a fast start with a pretty step back jumper before going baseline with a couple of slick reverse layups.

Fribourg weren't intimidated and a two-piece from Arnaud Cotture edged them ahead.

It was time for de Jong to play above the rim as he stuffed a two-handed dunk before throwing down a monster one-handed jam to get the fans out of their seats.

Think he was done? Think again with de Jong's two-handed jam giving Amsterdam a 15-12 cushion.

But Jukovic came alive in the paint as this game went down to the wire.

MVP de Jong proved too good as he enjoyed his fourth dunk of an amazing game to finish with 11 points and an insane 11 highlights as Amsterdam celebrated another title.

The reward: Three tickets to the Constanta Masters

Amsterdam HiPRO, Fribourg and Antwerp TOPdesk joined Raudondvaris Hoptrans, Liman Huishan NE and Hangzhou as teams to have qualified for the Constanta Masters on September 9-10.

Final Standings:
1. Amsterdam HiPRO (NED)
2. Fribourg (SUI)
3. Antwerp TOPdesk (BEL)
4. Versailles (FRA)
5. Raudondvaris Hoptrans (LTU)

Top Scorers:
1. Worthy de Jong (Amsterdam HiPRO, NED) 38 pts
2. Jonathan Dubas (Fribourg, SUI) 27 pts
3. Natan Jurkovitz (Fribourg, SUI) 26 pts
4. Jimmer Fredette (Miami, USA) 25 pts
5. Jonas Foerts (Antwerp TOPdesk, BEL) 24 pts

Key Stats:
- No.3 seeds Raudondvaris Hoptrans and high-profile Miami (USA) fell in the quarters.
- Miami's inconsistent start to the pro circuit continued, but former NBA player Jimmer Fredette starred and poured in 13 points against Sant Feliu (ESP) on Day One .
- Niklas Kropp again showed why he is a 3x3 unicorn with a triple-five of 10 points, 6 rebounds and 6 highlights in Dusseldorf LFDY's (GER) win over San Juan (PUR).