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Simone Fontecchio comes out firing as Italy rallies to stun Serbia

Nicolo Melli imposes his will for a slam. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Simone Fontecchio played his best performance ever in the FIBA World Cup, setting Italian basketball history and leading the Azzuris to a 78-76 comeback win against Serbia in their second-round game on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Fontecchio fired 30 points, the most by an Italian since Carlton Myers dropped 32 in a 1998 game against the United States, to the world number 10 Italians to a stunner against the world number six Serbians.

Italy, however, needed to crawl back from an early third-quarter storm that saw Serbia opening the period on an 18-4 run to take a 60-44 lead with 4:03 remaining.

Fontecchio then took over in the fourth quarter, scoring eight of Italy's last 15 points within the last 5:33 of the game to put his team up.

Fontecchio, however, missed a baseline jumper that could have iced it for Italy only for Stefan Jovic to miss a long triple that could have given Serbia the win as time expired.

Fontecchio, Jordan Clarkson's teammate with the Utah Jazz, finished 11-of-15 from the field with seven rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block for Italy, which tied Serbia at 3-1 in Group I action.

Marco Spissu added 14 points, five rebounds, and two assists.

Bogdan Bogdanovic led Serbia with 18 points, three rebounds, four assists, and two steals, while Nikola Milutinov added 14 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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