Trust and transparency is important to us.

It takes a lot of work to build, maintain, and improve a site like this and all the wonderful content you're about to enjoy. We and third parties use tech like cookies to make this happen.

By continuing, you consent to the use of these technologies, and affirm you're at least 16 years old or have consent from a parent or guardian.

Pinoy Box Break

Nikola Vucevic Powers Montenegro to Victory in FIBA World Cup Opener

by | Posted on: August 26th, 2023 | No Comments | Sports

In a thrilling start to the FIBA World Cup 2023, Nikola Vucevic showcased his prowess on the court, leading Montenegro to a convincing 91-71 victory over Mexico. The game took place at the Mall of Asia Arena, Manila, and was witnessed by 6,668 enthusiastic fans who filled the arena with energy and excitement.

Vucevic, who had missed the FIBA EuroBasket 2022, was eager to make a triumphant return to the international stage, and he did not disappoint. His dominant performance of 27 points, ten rebounds, and impactful defensive plays underscored his significance to the Montenegrin team. The crowd in Manila was treated to a display of Vucevic’s versatility, as he scored through an array of moves including rolls and dunks, post-ups on both sides of the court, and impressive three-point shots.

Montenegro’s victory was built upon their sharpshooting from beyond the arc. Contrary to the expectations of a battle between a team that shoots from range and another that excels inside the arc, Montenegro surprised by hitting 14 of their 31 attempted three-pointers, outpacing Mexico’s 6-of-19 performance from the same distance. This strategic adjustment paid off, allowing Montenegro to maintain their lead throughout the game.

Petar Popovic’s contribution cannot be overlooked as he played a pivotal role by sinking consecutive three-pointers during the third quarter, contributing to Montenegro’s commanding 16-point lead. Kendrick Perry, too, played a vital role with 16 points and 7 assists, ensuring a well-rounded team effort.

The victory places Montenegro in a favorable position in Group D, which also features Lithuania and Egypt. With this opening win, Montenegro’s aspirations to progress to the Second Round have gained momentum. The victory holds greater significance considering Montenegro’s previous appearance in the FIBA World Cup where they ranked 25th. A potential rise to at least 16th place seems attainable with performances like these.

On the opposing side, Mexico fought valiantly but was unable to overcome Montenegro’s consistent and composed gameplay. Pako Cruz led Mexico’s efforts with 16 points and 6 assists, highlighting his contribution to the team’s performance. Despite the support of the spirited crowd and their best efforts, Mexico found themselves unable to counter Montenegro’s cohesive strategy and execution.

Omar Quintero, Mexico’s head coach, lamented the game’s outcome, acknowledging Montenegro’s exceptional performance and pinpointing key moments that swung the game in their favor. Quintero’s comments reflected Montenegro’s effective control over the game’s tempo, particularly during crucial phases that dictated the outcome.

In post-game reflections, Nikola Vucevic expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance, highlighting their execution of the strategies discussed during team meetings and practices. Vucevic’s presence on the court was undeniably transformative, with Montenegro enjoying a significant +26 point differential when he was on the floor.

Looking ahead, Montenegro aims to maintain their momentum as they face Egypt in their upcoming match. Their victory has set a positive tone for their campaign, and the team’s focus on executing their game plan could prove pivotal in their journey through the FIBA World Cup 2023.

As basketball enthusiasts eagerly await the unfolding drama of Group D, this match’s exhilarating display of skill, strategy, and teamwork has set the stage for an enthralling tournament filled with unforgettable moments and displays of basketball brilliance.