We’re just a day away before the Philippine Arena in Bulacan turns into the cathedral of basketball for the FIBA 3×3 World Cup.
Much of the attention will be devoted to the host team which is comprised of Stanley Pringle, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, and Christian Standhardinger. As expected, the home crowd will be in full force as Team Philippines goes up against Brazil, Mongolia, Canada, and Russia in Pool C.
But other than the local players, there are other 3 x 3 greats that you should keep an eye on. If you are a student of the game who would like to pick a few moves or a casual spectator who watches for entertainment, catch these top-ranked players show their skill on the half court.
5) Anze Srebovt – Slovenia (990,000 ranking points)
The 26-year-old plays as the big man for the Slovenian 3 x 3 basketball team that is ranked second in the world. He uses his heft to power his way inside plus he has nice footwork to finish dribble drive plays from the Gasper Ovnik and Simon Finzgar.
He will be a handful for the players of Poland, Estonia, Japan, and Indonesia as they battle to get out of Pool B. Srebovt plays professional basketball for KK Plama Pur Ilirska Bistrica in the Slovenian Second Basketball League.
4) Stefan Stojacic – Serbia (1,022,700 ranking points)
With defensive ace Marko Zdero out of the Serbian line-up for the 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup, the 29-year-old Stojacic will represent his country for the first time. However, he is no stranger to 3 x 3 competition for he was the leading scorer in the Debrecen and Mexico City Masters.
He brings more offensive firepower through his deadly outside shooting and quick first step off the dribble. In fact, he once outscored Stephen Curry in the 2007 FIBA Under-19 World Championships in their home floor.
3) Dusan Bulut – Serbia (1.104,600 ranking points)
Three-on-three basketball lends more room for individual skill and creativity. Thus, it’s no wonder that Bulut is regarded as the poster boy of the sport.
With his dazzling ball handling ability, savvy marksmanship from the perimeter, and enviable looks, Bulut has become a household name for the three-time 3 x 3 world champions simply because he is a highlight reel waiting to happen. Known as “Mr. Bullutproof”, the 32-year-old has led Novi Sad Al Wadha to 3 x 3 World Tour titles in 2014 and 2015.
READ more about Serbia here:
– A quick look at past FIBA 3×3 World Cup champions
– Every continent’s best team in the FIBA 3×3 World Cup
2) Marko Savic – Serbia (1,123,800 ranking points)
If Dusan is the flashy one, Savic is the quiet glue guy for the Serbians. He doesn’t stay in the spotlight too often for he uses an economy of moves on the basketball floor.
Yet, those enough to bring him success to either drive for a basket or pass to a cutting teammate. A mainstay for the squad since August 2012, the 6’ 5” big man is also a three-time FIBA 3×3 World Champion and is also part of the two championship Novi Sad Al Wadha teams.
1) Dejan Majstorovic – Serbia (1,189,800 ranking points)
Having all four of its players as the world’s best makes Serbia not only the top-ranked 3×3 basketball nation but also favorites to win the 2018 3×3 World Cup. If they will bag gold for the third straight time, they will need the sweet shooting of “The Maestro”.
The 30-year-old complements Bulut very well for he can space the floor. Leave him open and he will make you pay once his shots fall in perfect rhythm. The number one player in the world is the main reason why they are favored to win Pool A over Kyrgyzstan, New Zealand, Romania, and the Netherlands.
(photos from FIBA)