Fit-again Latvian star Karlis Lasmanis is confident Riga can bag the $120,000 (£90,000/€101,000) prize on offer by clinching a hat-trick of International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3x3 World Tour 2020 events as the delayed season finally gets underway.
Riga are poised to compete in the Debrecen, Hungary and Europe Masters over the next eight days in a campaign delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting in Debrecen tomorrow, it is set to be a punishing week but Lasmanis insists Riga are in great shape and set to make a big impact.
"We are ready to win all three tournaments," said Lasmanis who has recently overcome an ankle problem.
"We practise hard every day and I think we are totally ready. I am totally back from my injury and everyone feels really good on our team.
"At every practice, they increased the cardio to be ready for these three World Tours. We put a lot of work into that."
This year’s 3x3 World Tour is set to be one of the most competitive fields in history, featuring 39 of the top 50 players on the planet.
🐐🆚🦇— FIBA3x3 (@FIBA3x3) August 28, 2020
Dusan Bulut 🇷🇸🆚🇱🇻 Karlis Lasmanis
Who do you got? pic.twitter.com/neuzhpE5YC
In Debrecen, Liman, Novi Sad, Riga, NY Harlem, Sakiai, Piran, Amsterdam, Humpolec Bernard, Graz, Debrecen, Tallinn and Utena Uniclub will be all vying for top spot.
Despite losing his number one ranking, Lasmanis is focused on leading his team – who face Piran and Tallinn in Pool C – to glory.
"I have been really healthy for a month," Lasmanis said.
"Of course, it would be nice to be first again.
"But as long as my team wins every tournament it doesn’t matter if I’m fifth, seventh or first.
"As long as my team wins games, I’m good with that."
Since returning to the court in July, Lasmanis and his Riga teammates, including Nauris Miezis, Agnis Cavars, and Edgars Krumins have been on fire.
They have finished in first place at three different events and appear to be in fine form heading to the Masters.
"I am really excited about the Masters," Lasmanis said.
"I can’t wait to see all those guys and talk about how everyone has prepared for the year. It should be fun.
"We played here in Latvia, so we got a little feeling of excitement, but of course, it’s different.
"My teammates and I cannot wait to go to Debrecen and feel the passion of getting back on the court and playing."
Over the past two years, Riga has had a bittersweet relationship with Debrecen.
In both 2018 and 2019, they advanced to the final only to lose to Novi Sad and Liman, but Lasmanis says he only has positive memories of the two events.
"Debrecen is a good city for us because we played in two finals out there and I hope this year Debrecen will be good for us as well," Lasmanis added.
The 3x3 event will be making its debut at next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.