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Nikola Jokic, Serbia Crush Gilas Pilipinas in Group Play at 2019 FIBA World Cup

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2019

FOSHAN, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 02: #15 Nikola Jokic, #7 Bogdan Bogdanovic, #13 Miroslav Raduljica and team mates of the Serbia National Team react during the match against the Philippines National Team during the 1st round of 2019 FIBA World Cup at GBA International Sports and Cultural Center on September 02, 2019 in Foshan, China. (Photo by Zhong Zhi/Getty Images)
Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

Nikola Jokic put together a dominant performance and Nemanja Bjelica scored 20 points as Serbia earned a 126-67 win over the Philippines on Monday at the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Jokic finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while acting as Serbia's offensive fulcrum for a second straight game. Serbia outscored the Philippines by 40 points with Jokic on the floor.

As a team, Serbia shot 75 percent from the field and knocked down 12 of their 22 threes in a result that was never in doubt. Bogdan Bogdanovic (17 points), Miroslav Raduljica (13 points), Marko Guduric (12 points), Vasilije Micic (11 points) and Nikola Milutinov (10 points) were also in double figures.

Serbia's victory ensures the country will advance to the second round of the bracket. They will play Italy on Wednesday to determine the winner of Group D. Italy and Serbia have been dominant in their first two games, with Group D proving to have arguably the largest chasm between the haves and have nots.

The Philippines struggled to find any cohesion on either end of the floor, getting overwhelmed by Serbia's combination of size and skill. They shot 37.3 percent overall and knocked down just four of their 24 three-point attempts.

Jaymar Perez led the way with 16 points, and Paul John Dalistan added 15. 

The Philippines have been outscored by 105 points in their two losses. They will play Angola on Wednesday to determine which team finishes third and fourth in the group before moving into the 17th-32nd classification round.

While it's only two games against lesser opponents, Serbia looks like perhaps the United States' biggest challenger in the World Cup. Spain will also be a strong contender, though this isn't a team at the same level as their recent Olympic squads.

Serbia is deep, filled with shooters and has a superstar in Jokic who is arguably the best player in the entire tournament. He knocked down all five of his shots against the Philippines and facilitated a ton of open shots when defenders crashed down in an attempt to get the ball out of his hands.

We'll get a better idea of how Serbia handles top-flight competition against Italy, though they should be a strong favorite to take that game and the group.    

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