|Nemanja Bjelica was just unstoppable for Serbia. FIBA|
By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA--Gilas Pilipinas Men could not sustain a relatively better start than their lethargic outing against Italy and fell prey to Serbia, 126-67, in the FIBA World Cup at the Foshan International Sports and Cultural Arena on Monday night.
Boasting a tall lineup consisting of Andray Blatche, Japeth Aguilar, Troy Rosario, Gabe Norwood, and Paul Lee, Gilas Men put up a fight against Serbia, even taking a 9-7 lead.
However, Serbia finished the period on a 21-4 run to take a 28-13 lead.
Gilas Men still put up a gallant stand in the second quarter, but Serbia broke loose in the third quarter by dropping 37 points and holding them to just 13.
Nemanja Bjelica went perfect from the field, going 7-for-7 from the field with two rebounds, one assist, and one steal for Serbia, which moved up to 2-0 in Group D, tying Italy, which clobbered Angola, 92-61, earlier Monday.
Both European sides, which are now assured of seats in the Final 16, will clash on Wednesday for the top seed in their group.
Bogdan Bogdanovic added 17 points, three rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
Nikola Jokic also finished perfect from the field, making all of his five baskets for 11 points with seven rebounds and seven assists.
Nikola Milutinov and Boban Marjanovic also went 4-for-4 from the field for 10 and nine points respectively.
Marko Simonovic went 3-for-3 from the floor and finished with seven markers with three boards.
CJ Perez made 16 points, three assists, and two steals for Gilas Men, who are relegated to the classification phase.
Andray Blatche, who vowed to perform better after a letdown against Italy, struggled all game long, only finishing with five markers on 2-of-10 shooting and four caroms although he too had six dimes, one block, and two steals.
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