Red-hot Raudondvaris Hoptrans aim to continue momentum at FIBA 3x3 Pont du Gard Challenger

30 Aug 2023

PONT du GARD (France) - After their spectacular triumph at the Debrecen Masters, top seeds Raudondvaris Hoptrans (LTU) loom as the team to beat at the FIBA 3x3 Pont du Gard Challenger on September 1-2.

The Lithuanians are part of a strong 16-team field and there are also three tickets available for the Amsterdam Masters, which is the 11th stop on this season's FIBA 3x3 World Tour.

Let's preview all the action.

The Favorites

We just have to start with the most recent Masters champs after Raudondvaris Hoptrans claimed an epic victory in Debrecen.

The lethal Lithuanians haven't partied too hard because they're quickly back in action and have their four heroes returning, including dynamic duo Aurelijus Pukelis and Marijus Uzupis who lit up Debrecen with a combined 76 points.

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But Raudondvaris' hopes for a first Challenger title this season won't be easy as they'll be pushed in a tough Pool A, particularly against rising San Juan (PUR), who boast cold-blooded Antonio Ralat.

They are going to have to do it the long way from the qualifying draw, but Vienna (AUT) still deserve plenty of respect because the Austrians will have Quincy Diggs firing from all over the half-court.

Partizan (SRB) and Paris (FRA) deserve to be listed as contenders with both teams having won Challenger titles in 2023.

The Serbs will unleash their new stars Stefan Milivojevic and Stefan Torbica, who will need to fire against French magician Franck Seguela.

The Field

There are plenty of challengers capable of upsetting the top dogs. Liman Huishan NE (SRB) normally would have been in the above category, but there are doubts over them without stars Stefan Kojic and Mihailo Vasic.

The Serbs will rely on Chinese dynamo Ning Zhang, who will need to be at his best against Princeton (USA) where he'll battle walking bucket Henry Caruso.

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After a hot start to the season, Dusseldorf LFDY (GER) have fallen off and will look to young unicorn Niklas Kropp to spark them into action.

Marseille (FRA) just have to be name dropped here because these young guns might just be the next big thing in 3x3.

Pool A: Raudondvaris Hoptrans (LTU), San Juan (PUR), Marseille (FRA)
Pool B: Dusseldorf LFDY (GER), Sant Feliu (ESP), Qualifier
Pool C: Liman Huishan NE (SRB), Princeton (USA), Qualifier
Pool D: Partizan (SRB), Paris (FRA), Montreux (SUI)

What's at stake
The top 3 teams in Pont du Gard will qualify for the Amsterdam Masters on October 6-7, 2023, as part of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.

How to watch
The two-day extravaganza is on September 1-2 and you can follow it live on the FIBA 3x3 YouTube and Facebook pages.