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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, September 3, 2019
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Jokic leads Serbia assault vs. Gilas


Serbia and their NBA All-Star Nikola Jokic turned on the style to reach the second round of the Basketball World Cup with a masterful 126-67 demolition of the Philippines last night.

The Serbs have a team packed with NBA talent and are the prime threat to reigning two-time champions the United States, who are without their biggest names in China.

Serbia began their title tilt with a 105-59 thrashing of Angola on Saturday and were similarly ruthless in dismissing the Philippines in Foshan.

Lumbering Denver Nuggets ace Jokic, who has what it takes to be the player of the tournament and has been likened to an NFL quarterback in the way he dictates games, had 11 points and a game-best seven assists and seven rebounds.

Nemanja Bjelica of the Sacramento Kings led the scoring with 20 points.

Serbia brought up a century of points at the start of the fourth quarter with a dunk by Marko Guduric, who signed for the Memphis Grizzlies in July. It is the first time that Serbia, losing finalists to Team USA in 2014, have won their first two games at the World Cup, underlining their scintillating form.

Serbia's big win also propelled Italy into the second round -- the two teams will face up on Wednesday in what promises to be a blockbuster for Group D supremacy.

The pair are the first teams into round two. An Angola player aimed a vicious headbutt at an opponent as Italy thrashed the Africans, 92-61.

Italy look in ominous form, hammering the Philippines 108-62 in their opener before handing out more punishment to the Angolans in Foshan.

But there was a flashpoint involving all the players from both teams with seconds left of the match after Angola's Leonel Paulo and Alessandro Gentile clashed.*AFP


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