What was suppose to be another great “El Clasico” of 3×3 basketball ended in a total debacle as Team Novi Sad Al Wahda demolished Team Ljubljana, final score 21-6, in the final of Raiffeisen Bank Bucharest Challenger. Both teams qualified for FIBA 3×3 World Tour Debrecen.
The class was in session and Dusan Bulut, Marko Savic, Dejan Majstorovic and Marko Zdero, the 3×3 basketball teachers, were serving a lesson. Bullet, or maybe better call them “Bulut” passes, fast cuts, deadly pick-and-rolls, locking defense and above all a curtain of perfect shots from beyond the arc. All of them accurate explained, play after play by the number one team in the world.
Playing with a big sense of vengeance, after losing twice this season in front of their old foes, Novi Sad Al Wahda were literally unstoppable, with a stormy 10-1 start, after just four minutes of play, and they never looked back.
Both teams, already qualified for the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Final in Abu Dhabi (October 28-29) got their tickets for FIBA 3×3 World Tour Debrecen.
In the first semifinal, in what was probably the most spectacular game of the tournament, Novi Sad were heavily shaken by the sizzling NY Harlem, but they prevailed in crunch time, final score 20-18.
The second semifinal, between Ljubljana and Bucharest was actually a rematch of the 2014 FIBA 3×3 European Championships final, hosted in the exact same place, University Square from Bucharest, two years ago. All but two of the eight players of that final were on the court also now, with Angel Santana, the Romanian jolly-joker and Slovenian Rok Smaka missing. This time Slovenians prevailed, final score 21-16.
No less than ten previous World Tour teams were part of Raiffeisen Bank Bucharest Challenger and a total of 11 countries were represented, from three continents.
The Bucharest Challenger came just three weeks ahead of the FIBA 3×3 European Championships, which will be hosted in the Romanian capital city as well on 2-4 September. Both tournaments are organized by Romanian promoter Sport Arena.