Nikola Vucevic gets 'good experience' from Fiba World Cup ahead of NBA season | Inquirer Sports

Nikola Vucevic gets ‘good experience’ from Fiba World Cup ahead of NBA season

/ 11:14 PM August 25, 2023

Montenegro's Nikola Vucevic in the Fiba World Cup game in Manila.

Montenegro’s Nikola Vucevic in the Fiba World Cup game in Manila. –FIBA

Nikola Vucevic believes playing in the Fiba World Cup representing his home country of Montenegro will be beneficial for his growth, especially once his focus shifts back to his NBA duties with the Chicago Bulls.

“I think it’s a good experience for me in order to be ready for the season,” Vucevic said after the European side pulled away to produce a 91-71 win over Mexico on Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.


“But most importantly, I’m glad to represent my country, share the court with my teammates, hopefully play well in the end and make our country proud,” he added after finishing with 27 points and 10 rebounds and a good headstart in Group D.


Vucevic is among the record 55 NBA cagers who came to Metro Manila, Okinawa and Jakarta to don the colors of their countries for the biggest showcase of international basketball.

But the tournament is missing some of the bigger names like Serbia’s Nikola Jokic and Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo for various reasons, dampening a bit the tournament’s star power.

“Every player has their reasons sometimes if they play or not,” Vucevic said. “I think most players enjoy playing for their countries and come in tournaments. They’re fun to be part of, especially a lot of these players I play now with and against when I was younger and I kinda grew up around them.

“So it’s fun to be out there with them on the floor and it’s an honor to represent our countries. So for me, it’s a good experience,” added Vucevic, whose new contract of $60 million for three years inked last July also played a factor in him being in Manila.

Montenegro prevailed after it was able to separate itself from Mexico in the second half with help from Kendrick Perry, who had 16 points, seven assists and three steals.

Vucevic and Montenegro could clinch a spot in the second round with a win over Egypt on Sunday at the same venue.


Friday’s other game at Mall of Asia pit group favorite Lithuania and New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas against Egypt.

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TAGS: Chicago Bulls, Fiba World Cup, Montenegro, Nikola Vucevic

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