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Serbia dispatch Philippines to advance to the Second Round
FOSHAN (China) - Serbia advanced to the Second Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 on Monday after trouncing Philippines 126-67 in Foshan.
Nemanja Bjelica led seven Serbian players who scored 10 points or more, while the Philippines' most important player Andray Blatche had a night to forget, finishing with 5 points, 5 rebounds before fouling out.
Serbia will play their Second Round in Group J in Wuhan against the two teams that finish in the first two places of Group D, which consist of Spain, Puerto Rico, Tunisia and Iran.
Turning Point: Serbia had a slow start to the game and the Philippines tried to grow in the confidence. Tied at 7-all with six minutes left in the opening quarter, coach Sacha Djordjevic called Nikola Jokic off the bench and the Serbian offense started to roll. The Serbs used a 7-0 run to close the first 10 minutes with a 25-13 lead, and the runners-up of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014 never slowed down.
TCL Player of the Game: Nemanja Bjelica, who sat out Serbia's opening game against Angola, came off the bench making all seven of his field goal attempts, including three three-pointers to finish with a game-high 20 points in just 16 minutes of action.
Stats Don't Lie: Serbia not only out-rebounded Philippines 37-23, but they also moved the ball exceptionally well finishing with 37 assists against Philippines' 14.
Bottom Line: There has never been a question about who the favorites to win this game was. But despite their high-favoritism Serbia took Philippines seriously and lived up to expectations. They played at their usual rhythm, putting Philippines in a difficult position to cope with.
With the win Serbia joined Italy as Group D top teams, at 2-0 which ensure them places in the Second Round of the tournament while Philippines will try to beat Angola in their last group game on Wednesday. Serbia and Italy will face each other on Wednesday to determine the group winner.
They said: "We had a good night tonight. We respect the Philippines, and we played really well and enjoyed our game." - Serbia forward Boban Marjanovic
"Our players did their job. The next game is going to be the more crucial one, so we’re preparing our players for that. Bjelica coming back is also a very good sign for us. - Serbia Coach Sacha Djordjevic.
"Tough loss. We wanted to make the game close. They’re just the number one team right now. Our goal was just to raise our game to a higher level. Serbia is just too much for us." - Philippines guard Paul Lee
"Serbia is just too big and too good. I think they have a really good chance against the USA and the other top teams. We just wanted to keep it as close as we can for as long as we can." - Philippines coach Yeng Guiao