Just days removed from upsetting team USA in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Lithuania fell to Serbia in the quarterfinals, 87-68. Leading the charge was Philadelphia 76ers’ big Filip Petrusev and Bogdan Bogdanović.
A healthy Bogdan Bogdanović is an excellent player, and he showed that in the first half — scoring 18 points of his 21 total. Petsruev was a huge X-factor off the bench for Serbia, scoring 17 points and grabbing six rebounds. He, along with Nikola Milutinov, were key in keeping Jonas Valanciunas in check.
Filip Petrusev was dealing with a right ankle issue during the first two games of the FIBA World Cup. During media availability, he touched on where he was at physically and his thoughts after the huge victory:
Quotes courtsey of eurohoops.net:
“I had the injury in the first game. So, I am not where I am supposed to be physically,” he mentioned referring to missing the last two games of the preliminary round due to an issue on his right ankle, “I was just glad I could help [Nikola] Milutinov. He had so much work on defense guarding [Jonas] Valanciunas. He did a great job. That was the opportunity for me to step in, especially in the offense, and contribute.”
Valanciunas has been dominant in the World Cup, and was the main reason USA fell to team Lithuania. While Petrusev isn’t 100% physically, it’s nice to see he not only held his own but won this individual matchup against one of the better NBA bigs.
Now, team Serbia’s confidence is high heading into the semifinals. Petrseuv was asked if they feel like they can shock the world and win it all:
“Why not? Especially after victories like this. This team just beat the USA,” added the new player of the Philadelphia 76ers on Serbia potentially winning gold in the Philippines by the end of the week, “It definitely gives us confidence that we can go all the way.”
Petrusev and Serbia will take on the winner of the stacked Canada-Slovenia matchup, which is slated to tip off on Wednesday, Sept. 6.