Serbia and Germany met in Manila, Philippines to compete for international gold on Sunday. And through 20 minutes, the game was tight with nothing to separate the two sides. But Germany took control in the third quarter and weathered a late Serbian surge down the stretch to win 83-77 and secure FIBA gold for the first time.
Atlanta Hawks wing Bogdan Bogdanovic caught fire in the first half, hitting five of his first six shots including going 3-for-4 (75%) from three. His ball handling was on display, both slashing into open lanes and stepping back from deep triples. ‘Bogi’ dropped 15 points on eight shots from the field in the first half alone as Serbia and Germany went into halftime knotted at 47 a piece.
Serbia particularly struggled to defeat the superior rim protection of Germany in the third quarter, however. The Serbs could only muster 10 points in the third period and found themselves down 69-57 heading into the final 10 minutes of the game.
The Serbs did muster a late push in the fourth quarter to narrow the deficit to just three points with 1:21 left in the contest. Bogdan Bogdanovic grabbed a late steal in the backcourt leading to a corner three-point attempt to tie the game from Serbia, but the shot went begging. Former Atlanta Hawk Dennis Schroder then put the Germans up four with a killer crossover and drive for a layup with 21.4 seconds remaining.
Bogdanovic finished with 17 points and five assists after cooling off in the second half. Schroder made a big push for tournament MVP with a 28-point night in the biggest game of the tournament — and the biggest of his international career.
In the end, Germany took home gold for the first time in their country’s history while Serbia earned their second silver medal as an independent federation — their previous one coming against the USA in 2014.