Serbia confirmed their contender status for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 by easily defeating Puerto Rico 94-77. This marked their second win in Group B, with all 11 Serbian players who took the court contributing points.
This victory also extended their flawless record of 5 wins against Puerto Rico since 2016, including a commanding 90-47 victory during the 2019 World Cup’s Second Round.
Serbia swiftly surged ahead of Puerto Rico, and a significant factor behind this was Nikola Jovic. The 20-year-old sensation netted 11 out of his 17 points during the opening quarter, while also contributing 4 assists and 3 rebounds to the team’s effort.
“I agree with what Nikola (Jovic) said. Puerto Rico is a transition team,” Serbia coach Svetislav Pesic said. “They showed that in the second half. This is the main quality of the Puerto Rico team. If they run they have good rhythm on offense and make 10 three-pointers in the second half.
“Of course, they have pride and had a good reaction in the second 20 minutes, which is what we expected, I must say. How we played the first 20 minutes was excellent. You cannot play better than how we played.”
Watch the game highlights between Puerto Rico and Serbia in the First Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023: