FOSHAN - Gilas Pilipinas competed and had a decent stand in the opening minutes but soon faded away versus an opponent likely to contend for the gold in the 2019 FIBA World Cup here Monday night.
Serbia, the 2014 world joust silver-medal winner, asserted its topnotch form and dealt Team Phl a 126-67 beating at the Foshan International Sports and Cultural Arena.
But the Nationals showed an improved performance from their 62-108 blowout by the Italians on opening day Saturday, putting a semblance of a fight at least in the early goings.
A triple by Andray Blatche and a twinner by Paul Lee pushed Gilas ahead at 9-7 before Serbia took the opening quarter at 28-13 then kept its foot on the accelerator for another blowout win that sealed its entry into the next round.
A win by Italy over Angola early in the day automatically sent the Serbians and the Italians into the second round while relegating the Filipinos and the Angolans down to the classification phase with a play date left in Group D action.
Gilas fights for pride as it tangles with Angola Wednesday.
Though playing notches better than their showing against the Italians, the Filipinos didn't have a chance against the Serbians who hit at a superb 55-percent clip from the arc and 75-percent overall.
Nemanja Bjelica connected on a perfect 3-of-3 three-point shooting and the Serbians fired 12-of-22 treys in all to highlight a masterful performance against which the Nationals had an answer only in the early goings.
Brights lights for Gilas were PBA rookie CJ Perez and Paul Lee who scored 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Naturalized player Andray Blatche, clearly now just a shade of his 2014 form, was good for just five markers, six assists and four rebounds against two turnovers.
June Mar Fajardo had some moments with eight markers he laced with six rebounds and two assists.
But the Serbians were simply notches better with their tall ceiling with superb ball movement and lethal shooting.
They hardly missed open shots, with Bjelica top scoring with 20 markers, Bogdan Bogdanovic chipping in17 and five others adding double-digit outputs, including Dender Nugget Nikola Jokic who put in 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. (SB)