Serbia advances to second round of FIBA World Cup after perfect group phase

After posting a 3-0 record in the group phase of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, the Serbian men’s national team will advance to the second round beginning on Friday.

Serbia opened the tournament by defeating China on Saturday, 105-63. The team followed that up with a 94-77 win over Puerto Rico on Monday and it wrapped up the group phase on Wednesday with a 115-83 victory over South Sudan to finish atop Group B.

Bogdan Bogdanovic led Serbia through its first three games, averaging 18 points, 5.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds. Nikola Jovic scored 17 points per game and Nikola Milutinov posted 13.3 points and 10.3 rebounds to help Serbia secure a spot in the second round.

Philadelphia rookie Filip Petrusev suffered an ankle injury versus China and was held out of action against Puerto Rico and South Sudan as a precaution. He produced eight points on Saturday.

Serbia will now face Italy (2-1) on Friday to begin the second round in Group I. The team will then play the Dominican Republic (3-0) on Sunday in the final game of the second round. The top two teams from the group, which also features Puerto Rico, will advance to the quarterfinals.

The FIBA Basketball World Cup will help seven countries qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. The seven spots include the top two teams from the Americas and Europe, and one team from Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Bogdanovic & Co. entered the tournament with the fifth-highest odds of winning. The country has medaled once (2014, silver) and last qualified for the Olympics in 2016 when it won the silver medal.

Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire