MANILA, Philippines – There will be an abundance of present and former NBA players who will grace the 2019 FIBA World Cup, and it will be no different in Group D, where Gilas Pilipinas got bunched.
Gilas coach Yeng Guiao and his crew will have their work cut out for them as the Philippines shares Group D with European powerhouses Serbia and Italy – countries that have produced numerous NBA talents.
Angola, which completes the Group D cast, is no pushover as well, having won 11 gold medals in the FIBA AfroBasket. (READ: FIBA World Cup 2019: Gilas grouped with European powerhouses)
Here are some of the notable past and current NBA players the Philippines may face in the global basketball meet:
Nikola Jokic (Serbia)
Helping Serbia clinch the silver medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Jokic will be a welcome addition to the national team in the World Cup, especially now that he has blossomed to one of the NBA’s best players.
The seven-foot, triple-double machine is a contender for the NBA’s MVP award, leading the Denver Nuggets to 2nd place in the Western Conference with norms of 20.2 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.6 assists.
Marco Belinelli (Italy)
Belinelli is one of the most recognizable faces of Italy basketball, having represented the country in the international stage for the last decade.
Making a name for himself as a knockdown shooter, the 32-year-old is now in his 13th year in the NBA, where he currently plays for the San Antonio Spurs and averages 10.8 points on a 38% three-point clip.
Milos Teodosic (Serbia)
Teodosic has been with the Serbian national team for more than a decade now and he helped his country bag silver medals in the 2014 FIBA World Cup and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The 31-year-old flashy playmaker played two years for the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA and averaged 8.0 points and 4.0 rebounds before he was waived early in 2019.
Danilo Gallinari (Italy)
Before making the big jump to the NBA, Gallinari stamped his class in Italy by winning MVP in the Lega Basket Serie A, the country’s top tier professional basketball league.
Now in his 11th NBA season, the 2008 sixth overall pick is having himself a year by averaging 19.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists to keep the Los Angeles Clippers relevent in the Western Conference’s playoff race.
Boban Marjanovic (Serbia)
Marjanovic has been at the disposal of the Serbian national team since his junior years and he will pose a problem to opponents solely because of his towering 7-foot-3 frame.
The 30-year-old is currently in his fifth NBA season, putting up averages of 7.3 points and 4.6 rebounds for the playoff-bound Philadelphia 76ers.
Luigi Datome (Italy)
Datome is a mainstay in the Italian basketball team, representing his country in numerous editions of the EuroBasket since 2007.
The 6-foot-8 forward saw action for the Detroit Pistons and the Boston Celtics in the NBA in a span of two years, averaging 3.4 points and 1.4 rebounds.
Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia)
Like Teodosic, Bogdanovic was also a member of the Serbian squads that struck silver in the 2014 FIBA World Cup and the 2016 Rio de Janerio Olympics.
The 26-year-old guard is now norming 14.4 points, 3.9 assists and 3.6 rebounds in his second year with the Sacramento Kings.
Other noteworthy players:
Nemanja Bjelica (Serbia) – currently plays for the Sacramento Kings
Miroslav Raduljica (Serbia) – played for the Milwaukee Bucks and Minnesota Timberwolves
Nemanja Nedovic (Serbia) – played for the Golden State Warriors
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