(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Serbia and United States to clash for a place in the Fiba U-17 World Championships final Australia and Puerto Rico players in action during the Fiba U-17 World Championship at Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai on Thursday.
Australia await for either France or Spain in the Fiba U-17 World Championships semi-finals on Friday after the Green and Gold nation ousted Puerto Rico 76-52 at the Hamdan Sports Complex here.
Mark Watkins’ side established an 11-point buffer at the end of the opening 10 minutes (23-12) and duly maintained that double-digit cushion throughout this comfortable victory with subsequent period splits of 18-14 16-18 and 19-8.
Dejan Vasiljevic (21) Isaac Humphries (16) and captain Tom Wilson (11) led the Aussies’ offensive endeavours as did Arnaldo Toro (18) for the Puerto Ricans albeit with somewhat less support.
The all-European encounter between the French and the Spanish was taking place as Khaleej Times went to press late last night.
Meanwhile over on the opposite side of the draw Serbia will meet the USA in the other semi after the former thwarted a Canadian comeback to ultimately prevail 71-64.
Vanja Gusa’s side saw an 11-point first-quarter advantage (27-16) whittled down to seven (47-40) by the midway point before that lead was overturned in the third period; Canada’s greater defensive effort ensuring the Serbians could only register five points to their 15 as they went 55-52 ahead.
However with the Canadian captain and topscorer Jamal Murray (24) clearly nursing an injury in the fourth and final quarter Serbia outscored their opponents 19 to nine to ensure a shot at the bronze medal at the very least this weekend.
“It feels wonderful to play in the semi-finals tomorrow (Friday) and to be among the top four teams in the world. We’re excited” said Serbia coach Gusa.
“We’ll try to beat the best team in the world. Why not That’s sport. Nobody has come here to lose. We’ve come here to take out the championship title and if want to be the champions you must beat everybody.
“Guaranteeing ourselves a place in the bronze medal match is okay but we want gold. I respect the United States of course but we want those gold medals and we’re only two games away from the championship now.”
Skipper Vojislav Stojanovic (15) who – along with guard Vanja Marinkovic (18) and forward Stefan Kenic (10) – scored the majority of Serbia’s points overall added: “It means a lot to us to play against the USA as they are all future NBA stars. It’s a big honour.
“They are the better team on paper but we’re going to try to beat them. Even if we don’t succeed though we’re still going to play for the bronze medal and that’s good for us too because America is a much bigger country than Serbia.
“They (the USA) are going to have many more rebounds than us but we’re going to try to fight.”
The States had reached the last four courtesy of a 113-71 success over China earlier on in proceedings.
Henry Ellenson starred for Don Showalter’s all-conquering squad with a game-high amount of points (21) and rebounds (10) thereby outscoring his nearest Chinese competitor in each respective category — captain and power forward Hao Fu (16) and centre Jinqiu Hu (seven).