ABU DHABI // Novi Sad Al Wahda are aiming for a hat-trick of the Fiba 3X3 titles when the World Tour final returns to the capital for a second successive year.
A dozen teams are set to battle it out for a slice of the US$100,000 (Dh367,000) prize fund at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City on Thursday and Friday, from 5pm to 10pm.
Representing the UAE, Novi Sad Al Wahda have retained the same Serbian quartet of Dusan Bulut, Marko Savic, Desan Metrovic and Marko Zdero that won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015.
“There is no need to change a winning combination,” said Khalid Al Hanaei, vice president of the UAE Basketball Association and a member of Al Wahda Club’s board of directors, at the launch ceremony on Tuesday.
“Winning the title in the last two years looked easy but we expect it to be a lot harder this time. We hope we can reach the final again and that would be an achievement.”
Jasmin Hercegovac from Slovenia’s Team Ljubljana said: “The competition has become stronger and bigger every passing year since the 3X3 was established in 2012. There are no weak teams on this final leg.”
The teams are divided into four groups of three, with the top two advancing to the quarter finals. The winner of the World Tour final will receive a direct passage to the 2016 Fiba 3X3 All Stars event.
The winners of each of the seven Masters events around the world and the best teams in the Fiba 3X3 World Tour standings at the end of the season qualified for the finals in Abu Dhabi.
“Obviously, the World Tour final is contested by the best 3X3 teams you can find in the world and we expect every game to be closely contested,” said Alex Sanchez, director of Fiba 3X3.
The organisers have lined up several side events and entertainment for spectators over the two days.
“Aside from the action on the court for the spectators, we want to create a carnival atmosphere for the entire family to enjoy the two days,” said Talal Al Hashemi of Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
They include the dunk contest, special performances from Team Philippines (3X3 Smart Gillas), acrobat dunkers, a cheerleader dance contest between Filipino schools in the UAE, basketball contests for fans, plus raffles for prizes on all free entry tickets.
Group A: Novi Sad Al Wahda (UAE), Belgrade (SRB), St Petersburg (RUS)
Group B: Ljubljana (SLO), Sao Paulo (BRA), Chicago (USA)
Group C: Piran (SLO), Gdansk (POL), Hamamatsu (JPN)
Group D: Saskatoon (CAN), Kranj (SLO), Caguas (PUR)
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