Serbia coach praises Gilas Pilipinas after major scare

Delfin Dioquino
Serbia coach praises Gilas Pilipinas after major scare

COMMENDABLE EFFORT. Kai Sotto and Gilas Pilipinas put up a gallant stand against Serbia.


Serbia coach Igor Kokoskov tips his hat to Gilas Pilipinas counterpart Tab Baldwin as the Filipinos push the home team to the limit in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Serbia head coach Igor Kokoskov commended Gilas Pilipinas’ effort after the visiting Filipinos almost beat his team in front of their home crowd in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Tagged as an underdog, the Philippines pushed the home team to the limit before Serbia pulled away in the final two minutes on the back of Dallas Mavericks’ 7-foot-3 giant Boban Marjanovic for the 83-76 win.

“I would like to congratulate the Philippine team for playing really good, playing together as a unit,” Kokoskov said.

Kokoskov, who has coached for multiple NBA teams, also tipped his hat to Philippines counterpart Tab Baldwin.

“Coach Baldwin has done a great job, a dear friend of mine. I think he has done an awesome job. His team played really together and they were competing,” Kokoskov said.

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Serbia looked on its way to a blowout win after seizing a 16-point lead in the third quarter behind Marjanovic and Ognjen Dobric.

But Gilas Pilipinas slowly chiseled away at its deficit and even took a 74-73 lead midway through the final quarter.

It was then when Serbia banked on Marjanovic to pull through as the NBA big man scored 8 points in the win-clinching 10-2 run.

“I think at this point, we’re thinking too much. We don’t have that flow. Basketball is a game of reaction. We don’t react. We’re thinking too much offensively and defensively,” said Kokoskov.

Also beating Dominican Republic, Serbia wrapped up the group stage at the top of Group A with a 2-0 record and goes into the knockout round as the favorite to nail the lone Olympic berth up for grabs in this OQT leg.

“The goal was to win the game and we won the game. It wasn’t cute, it wasn’t pretty, but we got it done,” Kokoskov said. –

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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.