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Tiebreaker Times

2023 FIBA World Cup

FIBA: Vucevic, Montenegro flex might over Mexico in Group D opener

Montenegro marked an impressive start to its journey in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 by securing a commanding victory over Mexico in Group D, with a final score of 91-71 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Friday.

NBA superstar Nikola Vucevic led the charge for the Black Mountains, amassing 27 points on a remarkable 11-of-15 shooting from the field, which included a flawless 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, accompanied by 10 rebounds.

“The most significant aspect tonight is that we initiated the tournament with a triumph,” remarked head coach Bosko Radovic. “We managed to score 91 points with only 11 turnovers, about seven or eight of them in the first half. We need to execute our offensive plays with greater precision.”

Ranked 18th globally, Montenegro created a noticeable gap against the 12 Guerreros in the latter part of the second quarter. They transformed a narrow 34-33 lead into a substantial 48-39 halftime advantage, highlighted by consecutive three-pointers from team captain Bojan Dubljevic.

During the third quarter, the Montenegrins extended their lead to 16 points at 60-44. However, the Mexican team mounted a determined comeback and approached the final quarter trailing by merely 10 points, with a score of 68-58.

Ranked 31st globally, Mexico displayed multiple spirited fightbacks in the closing period. Nevertheless, their efforts fell short, as Nikola Ivanovic, Vucevic, and Kendrick Perry delivered key plays for the Black Mountains.

“We secured an excellent victory even though we began the game a bit nervously. Our performance improved significantly, and we responded effectively to the runs, particularly in the second half,” commented Vucevic.

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Perry contributed 15 points, along with seven assists and three steals, while Ivanovic added 14 points, including three successful three-pointers.

Additionally, Montenegro showcased their dominance on the offensive boards, accumulating 14 second-chance points, while their opponents failed to score any in this category.

Pako Cruz emerged as the top scorer for the 12 Guerreros with 16 points and six assists, despite committing five turnovers.

Joshua Ibarra contributed 13 points, Fabian Jaimes delivered 12 points and eight rebounds, and Paul Stoll secured 10 points and seven assists.

Both teams are set to return to action on Sunday, as Montenegro aims to continue their winning streak against Egypt, while Mexico seeks to rebound against Lithuania.

The Scores:

Montenegro 91 Vucevic 27, Perry 16, Ivanovic 14, Dubjlevic 7, Radovic 7, Simonovic 5, Slavkovic 4, Radoncic 2, Mihailovic 1.

Mexico 71 – Cruz 16, Ibarra 13, Jaimes 12, Stoll 10, I. Gutierrez 6, Giron 6, J. Gutierrez 4, Camacho 2, Bonilla 2, Amigo 0, Mendez 0.

Quarterscores: 19-19, 48-39, 68-58, 91-71.

Written By

Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.

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