Serbia has made it to the 2023 World Cup final! Led by Turkish Airlines EuroLeague stars, past and present, Serbia downed Canada 95-86 in Manila, Philippines to secure a medal and keep fighting for gold. Many Serbian players stepped up during the game but Olympiacos Piraeus center Nikola Milutinov was arguably his team's main pillar, finishing the game with 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting and 10 rebounds.
This will mark Serbia's first World Cup final since 2014. As part of former Yugoslavia, Serbia won five gold medals and now it has a chance to win the World Cup for the first time as an independent country.
Serbia started the game with two clear goals: run its offense through Milutinov due to his size advantage in the paint and get Canadian superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander into early foul trouble. It succeeded in both tasks, as Milutinov led an opening 1-8 run and, once Canada bounced back, Gilgeous-Alexander headed to the bench with 2 fouls.
With Canada struggling to find a new go-to guy, EuroLeague champion Bogdan Bogdanovic and Partizan Mozzart bet guard Aleksa Avramovic fueled an 11-0 run that gave Serbia a 21-13 lead. Bogdanovic got plenty of help from Marko Guduric of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul to boost the Serbian lead to double digits, 33-23.