Fontecchio, Italy boost quarters chances with comeback win over Serbia | Inquirer Sports

Fontecchio, Italy boost quarters chances with comeback win over Serbia

/ 08:20 PM September 01, 2023

Italy Fiba World Cup

Italy celebrates its comeback win over Serbia in the Fiba World Cup second round. -MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — Simone Fontecchio unleashed 30 points as Italy stunned Serbia with a come-from-behind 78-76 win to boost its chances of reaching the Fiba World Cup 2023 final phase on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Azzurri fought back from 16 points down in the third quarter led by Fontecchio and Luigi Datome, who scored 10 consecutive points, conspiring in a 17-2 rally that cut the deficit to one heading into the fourth quarter.


Fontecchio then hit a pair of clutch baskets to give the Italians a 74-69 cushion with 3:21 remaining.


Bogdan Bogdanovic tried to will Serbia back with five points inside the final minute including a pair of free throws that pulled his team to within two, 76-78. With a chance to win, Stefan Jovic missed a potential 3-pointer for Serbia, which slid into a tie with Italy at 3-1 in Group I.

“What can I say? We’re really happy, we’re really happy for the win. We did an amazing job today as a team especially in the third quarter, down 16, we didn’t give up, we never gave up. This just simply showed the heart of this team, the will of this team. We just don’t give up,” said Fontecchio in the postgame press conference. “We don’t care if we’re down 16, we don’t care (who) we’re playing we’ll just keep playing, keep fighting, until the end and that’s the result.”

The Utah Jazz forward, who shot 11-of-15 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds, relished their big win over the No. 6 Serbians as only the top two teams from each group in the second round will advance to the quarterfinals starting next week.

Fontecchio provided the heroics but it was a collective effort for the Azzurri with Marco Spissu chipping in 14 points on 3-of-4 three-point shooting on top of five rebounds, and Datome scoring 10 points in the pivotal stretch.

Italy wraps up its second round on Sunday against Puerto Rico at 4 p.m.

Bogdanovic led Serbia with 18 points but shot 4-of-16 from the field and only made one of his 13 three-point attempts. Ognjen Dobric contributed 15 points, while. Nikola Milutinov put up 14 points and 12 rebounds.


Serbia tries to bounce back against Karl-Anthony Towns and the Dominican Republic on Sunday at 8 p.m.

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TAGS: Fiba World Cup, Italy, Serbia, Simone Fontecchio

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