FOSHAN, China – Don't expect Serbia to let its guard down and take Gilas Pilipinas lightly on Monday, September 2, despite the contrasting results of their opening games in the FIBA World Cup.
The match will feature two teams on the opposite ends of a 46-point blowout.
But Serbian coach Sasha Djordjevic and his crew will head into their duel against the Filipinos as if it were their last.
"Basically, we prepare that every next game is the most important one in our careers and that's how we're going to approach the Philippines game nevertheless the results," Djordjevic told reporters here.
"We don't care about that."
And although Serbia is the consensus tournament favorite along with reigning two-time champion USA, all of the expectations are nothing but noise for Djordjevic and his wards.
"We're ready, we have experience, we know what to expect in games like these," Djordjevic added.
"We don't want to be surprised, not by some other national team that is on paper not as good as us. We just want to have our step by step walk in this World Cup."
Serbia – which had NBA players Bogdan Bogdanovic, Boban Marjanovic, and Nikola Jokic all scoring in twin digits against Angola – will have another threat against the Philippines with Sacramento Kings' Nemanja Bjelica suiting up.
"I believe he's going to play some minutes. It's good news for us," Djordjevic said.
"It's a headache for me because I now have to put all of them to play and everybody's going to be mad if they don't play enough. It's always a problem. Just kidding. [It's a] good problem to have." – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.