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Phl cagers far from being world-class, Serbia coach says

Julius Manicad

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Serbia coach Sasa Djordjevic: Team Philippines way behind international standards. (Fiba photo)

FOSHAN, China—Serbian coach Sasa Djordjevic made an analysis that definitely wouldn’t sit well with millions of Filipino basketball fans.

Shortly after hammering the Philippine team with a 126-67 beating, Djordjevic noted that the Filipino brand of basketball remains way behind the rest of the world.

There’s a grain of truth in Djordjevic statement.

The Filipinos posted their first lead in the Fiba World Cup, 9-7, before the Serbians went full blast, crushing the morale of coach Yeng Guiao’s wards in the second quarter before completely burying them in the third and fourth periods on Monday night.

Naturalized player Andray Blatche was not as effective as NBA stars Nemanja Bjelica, Nikola Jovic and Bogdan Bogdanovic torched him on both ends of the floor.

Blatche finished with a forgettable five points in 28 minutes of action.

“I think you showed some balance and quickness, but obviously, you’re missing quality and these two games are the results of that,” said Djordjevic, the playmaker of the great Yugoslavian team that won the World Cup in 1998 and was runner-up in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

Prior to that embarrassing 59-point crushing, Gilas Pilipinas was clobbered by Italy, 108-62, in the opener of the prestigious 32-nation tournament at the GBA International Sports and Cultural Arena here.

NBA stars Danilo Gallinari and Marco Belinelli made their presence felt for the Italians, who limited the Filipinos to only eight points in the first period en route to a 46-point victory.

For Djordjevic, the results should serve as a lesson to the Filipinos if they want to make it big in the international arena.

“Two European top teams who know how to play tough, physical basketball,” he said. “These are the results you have to think about in the future.”

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