The Gilas Pilipinas Men’s team started off much better compared to its previous game against Italy but ended up losing the same way, via a lopsided margin to formally bow out of contention in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup following Monday night’s 126-67 loss to Serbia at the GBA International Sports and Recreation Centre.
The Philippine national team enjoyed a 2-point lead in the early goings but an 18-2 run by the 4th-ranked team in the world started to create space for the team led by NBA superstar Nikola Jokic.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Bjelica and Miroslav Raduljica joined in the onslaught and Gilas never recovered to eventually fall into the classification stage of the tournament. Serbia, on the other hand, advanced to the next round with Italy who earlier won over Angola.
“Serbia simply proved too big and too good for us,” said Gilas coach Yeng Guiao after the team absorbed its 2nd straight lopsided defeat which surpassed the team’s dubious record of back-to-back 47-point losses in the 1978 edition of the tournament.
“I feel they have a really good chance against the US and any of the top teams. We just played out there and tried to keep the game as close as we can for as long as we can,” added the fiery mentor.
Bjelica paced Serbia with 20 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting from the field while Bogdanovic and Raduljica chipped in 17 and 13 markers, respectively. Jokic finished with 11 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
Rookie CJ Perez led Gilas’ losing cause with 16 points while Paul Lee added 15.
Serbia 126 – Bjelica 20, Bogdanovic 17, Raduljica 13, Micic 12, Milutinov 11, Jokic 11, Marjanovic 9, Simonovic 7, Jovic 6, Bircevic 6, Lucic 4
Gilas 67 – Perez 16, Lee 15, Fajardo 8, Aguilar 7, Bolick 7, Blatche 5, Ravena 5, Pogoy 2, Almazan 0, Norwood 0
Quarterscores: 28-13, 62-35, 99-48, 126-67.