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Serbia ended this Friday with the favoritism of Canada by the end of 95-86 for, with an outstanding game by Bogdan Bogdanovic in which he minimized Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, reach a final of the FIBA World Cupin which a rival is already waiting, who will emerge from the duel between Germany and the United States.
Bogdanovic shined with 23 points and three assists and Nikola Milutinov and Ognjen Dobric added 16 points each for the winners. Two other Serbian players scored points in double figures.
Gilgeous-Alexander was held to 15 points while taking just eight shots from the field in 34 minutes. RJ Barrett was the best in the setback with 23 points and Dillon Brooks added 16.
Serbia will play for gold on Sunday and Canada for bronze against the loser of Germany and the United States.
It was the first World Cup semi-final for Canada in its entire history and the third for a Serbia that is veteran, unofficial and, of course, has plenty of talent.
And that condition of North American inexperience was palpable on the wood of the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. Serbia was a whirlwind, guided by an unleashed Bogdanovic, and Canada found itself extremely overwhelmed by the situation, perhaps for the first time since the World Cup adventure in Southeast Asia began.
Not even against Spain, which put them in trouble, or against Brazil, which managed to win, did Canada give the impression of being inferior. But Pesic Svetislav’s plan went perfectly from the start, with an 8-0 run with triples from Ognjen Dobric and Bodgan Bogdanovic that made the score 8-1, the first big advantage of the game.
The quality of Fernandez’s selection allowed her, although misplaced for much of the match due to the Serbian approach, to largely stop the hemorrhages that were arising during the duel, which could have been much greater.
With two triples from Barrett and Kelly Olynyk they managed to reduce that first, but it was a mirage in a first quarter completely dominated by a Serbia that, curiously, was capable of doing a lot of damage in quick transitions, the specialty of the North American team. An 11-0 run made it 21-13 that Jordi Fernandez couldn’t understand from the bench. Canada was badly outmatched, Serbia was flying.
And the European team did not lower its intensity or pace in the second quarter, aware that Canada needed little to get back on track and cut the lead. The Serbian defense was an exhibition and with two dunks from Milutinov (16 points), again in those quick transitions, they increased the lead to 10 points.
It was no longer just the great Serbian game in defense, it was that Canada failed everything it had not failed until now. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander not only did not have his scoring afternoon, but he was loaded with fouls before halftime, which ended up being a +13 at halftime (52-39).
Only 5 points from Shai at halftime, 15 at the end of the game, insufficient to take Canada to the grand final. Bogdanovic was decisive in the first half, but in the second he was stellar. Canada finished with 17 fouls at halftime and 3 of them were from Shai, evidencing the frustration of a team not used to having problems in attack.