By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
MANILA – Serbia completed its domination of Group B play in the FIBA World Cup after manhandling South Sudan, 115-83, on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Serbia sizzled early on, dropping 30 points on South Sudan in the first quarter before ending it with a 10-point lead.
Serbia continued to pounce on South Sudan in the next two quarters and led by as much as 25 midway through the third quarter.
South Sudan seemed to have found some glimpses of rhythm after finishing the third period strong to cut Serbia’s lead down to 18, but the latter pulled away for good early in the fourth.
NBA player Nikola Jovic scored 25 points on 9-for-9 field goals including 5-of-5 from long range, two rebounds and three assists for Serbia, which joined Group A top notchers Dominican Republic and Italy in the Round of 16 starting on Friday night.
Bogdan Bogdanovic added 23 points, two rebounds, nine assists, and three steals, while Nikola Milutinov put up 17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and one block.
Dut Jok Kacoul put up 21 points on six threes, two rebounds, three assists and two steals to lead South Sudan, which can only hope for China to beat Puerto Rico later Wednesday by 35 points or less to move on to the second round.
Over at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, the United States of America (USA) made quick work of Jordan for a 110-62 blowout to complete a 3-0 sweep of Group C action.
Team USA whipped Jordan early on with a 31-12 first-quarter lead and never looked back from there.
Anthony Edwards played his best game so far in the FIBA World Cup, leading Team USA with 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Bobby Portis added 13 points, six rebounds and three steals.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led Jordan with 20 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. (PNA)