Bogdan Bogdanovic lauds Nikola Milutinov factor in Serbia triumph
MANILA, Philippines–Bogdan Bogdanovic had high praises for Nikola Milutinov after Serbia advanced to the 2023 Fiba World Cup Final at Mall of Asia Arena on Friday.
After the Serbians’ 95-86 victory over Canada in the semifinals, Bogdanovic lauded big man Milutinov, who finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“We knew that he’s going to be a big part of tonight’s game. Against Lithuania, they had a bigger lineup so we played through guards a little bit more but [this time] with Nikola, he’s been amazing,” said Bogdanovic after scoring 23 points himself.
“He proved his game. I played with him around 10 to 12 years ago and he’s been getting better every single year. I’m happy for him and he helped us a lot.”
Milutinov had to go up against the likes of Kelly Olynyk and Dwight Powell in the paint but he flaunted his offensive game, finishing with a perfect 100 percent shooting clip from the field in six tries.
Nikola Milutinov after Serbia’s win. The Serbians advance to the #FIBAWC gold medal match on Sunday against either USA or Germany. | via Melo Fuertes, Inquirer SportsREAD: inq.news/SerbiaFibaFinals
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Friday, September 8, 2023
The 28-year-old Serbian was crucial in the team’s rebounding department, as they outworked the Canadians, 33-22.
Milutinov also had more boards than Powell and Olynyk combined as they both just had three each.
“I knew what I had to do before the game. I started a little bit slow but after I got my rhythm and got in shape, I was glad that I could help my team win tonight,” said the 7-foot big.
“I knew that every player had to give something, our abilities, to win today because they (Canada) were one of the favorites to win the World Cup,” he added.
Up next for the Serbians are either Germany or USA for the gold medal, in a battle slated Sunday also at MOA Arena.