FIBA World Cup

China coach Sasha Djordjevic dealt ruthless birthday blowout by ex-team Serbia

Delfin Dioquino

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China coach Sasha Djordjevic dealt ruthless birthday blowout by ex-team Serbia

HANDSHAKE. Head coach Sasha Djordjevic of China against Dominican Republic in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.


Although now with China, former Serbia head coach Sasha Djordjevic says he remains proud of his home country and his former players who grew before his eyes

MANILA, Philippines – It was probably the worst kind of a birthday blowout.

China coach Sasha Djordjevic celebrated his 56th birthday on the wrong end of a 42-point rout as his former team Serbia crushed Team Dragons, 105-63, in the FIBA World Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, August 26.

The result marked the most lopsided loss so far in the global hoops showpiece also hosted in Okinawa, Japan, and in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“It was an emotional game for me. You know where I’m from and what I did with these guys,” Djordjevic said after the match.

Djordjevic, a star player for former Yugoslavia, coached Serbia for six years and steered the European powerhouse to multiple podium finishes, including silver medals in the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

He also called the shots for the Eagles in the last World Cup, guiding the squad to fifth place before he stepped down from his post immediately after wrapping up their campaign.

Although now with China, Djordjevic said he remains proud of Serbia and his former players who grew before his eyes.

“Most of them were selected by me and coached [by me]. I’m very proud when I left and I’m very proud of how big they’ve become as persons and as players,” said Djordjevic.

“And I believe I had something to do with it because I gave them a little bit of myself, my knowledge and my personality,” he added. “I wish them luck. I wish them to go all the way the best they can.”

Djordjevic eyes his first World Cup win with China as they face South Sudan on Monday, August 28, at the same venue. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.