Foshan, China, Aug 31 : FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 kicked off here on Saturday as title favorites Serbia cruised past Angola 105-59 in the first round of Group D. Bogdan Bogdanovic led Serbia's scoring sheet with 24 points. Nikola Jokic and Nikola Milutinov scored 14 apiece. In the nearly full-packed Foshan International Sports & Cultural Center, both sides caught on fire beyond the arc in the opening period, as Serbia shot six of seven, while their African opponents made four out of five.
Without their superstar Jokic, currently playing in the NBA's Denver Nuggets, in the starting five, Serbia opened their scoring from starting center Boban Marjanovic's easy lay-up. Marjanovic had 12 for Serbia. With 5:38 remaining in the quarter, Jokic's substitution drew ‘hurrah’ from the crowds. Serbia led 29-20 through another NBA player Bogdanovic's unrestrained performance on three-pointers in the first quarter. The Sacramento Kings shooting guard made all three attempts outside the paint.
Serbia went on to build a 50-32 advantage into halftime. The European powerhouses never seemed contested by Angola in the second half. After Milutinov's a slam dunk, their lead was extended to over 30 points midway through the third quarter en route to as many as 49 points in the final 12 minutes. Later on Saturday, Italy will take on the Philippines in the group's another match-up.XINHUA