A silver medal on the again of a 6-2 report is one thing that 30 different groups that participated within the Fiba World Cup would have gladly traded their return tickets for. For Serbia, nonetheless, it was an achievement that got here second solely to what the workforce felt it cast within the international showcase.
“We actually grew to become brothers on this match. We struggled, it was actually tough for us however we labored arduous, by no means gave up and the friendship, brotherhood and chemistry was there,” stated an exhausted Nikola Milutinov after an 83-77 defeat to Germany within the remaining.
“We’ve been by means of so many difficulties with this group of men and we bought ourselves able the place we might make our nation much more proud however sadly we didn’t make it.”
Serbia seemed invincible for a lot of the World Cup, with a shock loss to Italy within the second spherical its solely blemish heading into the ultimate.Up till a powerful displaying in a semifinal victory over Canada, the place Milutinov, the 7-foot Olympiacos B.C. participant, posted 16 factors and 10 rebounds to ship Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and firm all the way down to a bronze medal match towards Crew USA, Serbia seemed each inch the favourite for the Naismith trophy.
Nonetheless, when he was wanted essentially the most, Milutinov had his worst recreation of the match, dropping solely two factors and 4 boards whereas drawing blanks from the sphere.
“That is basketball, typically dangerous video games occur … I’ll simply hold working arduous, hold pushing and never hand over,” Milutinov stated. “It was actually tough. I couldn’t discover my rhythm the entire recreation sadly and I ought to have been higher, after all.”
Nonetheless, regardless of a lackluster outing, Milutinov felt he had no cause to stress.
Bogdan Bogdanovic actually didn’t have one. Not even after posting averages of 19.1 factors, 4.6 assists and three.3 rebounds per recreation on an environment friendly 52.6 % taking pictures clip to gas Serbia to the Finals.
He additionally had 17 factors towards Germany however his efforts nonetheless fell wanting gold.
However amid the confetti celebrating a rival’s victory, Bogdanovic had nothing however delight for his brothers.“I’m simply joyful and happy with these guys. Since day one, no one believed on this group and we’re simply working arduous since day one and we achieved one thing I feel,” stated the Atlanta Hawk sharpshooter.
Lack of perception
A whole lot of the shortage of perception centered on the absence of Nationwide Basketball Affiliation (NBA) champion Nikola Jokic. The Denver star begged off from taking part in within the World Cup as a consequence of fatigue after serving to the Nuggets win the 2023 NBA title.
Nonetheless, coach Svetislav Pesic trusted his core that consisted of Bogdanovic, Milutinov and Aleksa Avramovic to carry them far.And produce them far, they did.
Avramovic saved his greatest for final for the Serbians, scoring 21 factors within the loss towards the world’s best however to no avail.
His efforts weren’t left unnoticed by captain Bogdanovic, because the latter lauded his entire squad for bringing the combat towards the Germans.
“It’s all good. I’m actually joyful concerning the guys. As I stated after we began the preparation, I’m simply joyful that we responded that manner.”
Apart from the silver medal and brotherhood cast, the Serbians additionally punched their ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics the place they may accomplish what they couldn’t in Manila and at last get the gold.
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