By: Gyang Dakwo
Germany won their first-ever FIBA Basketball World Cup title by beating undermanned Serbia 83-77 in a slugfest of the two European powerhouses on Sunday in Manila.
Germany leaned on a 22-10 surge in the third quarter, orchestrated by brothers Franz and Moritz Wagner, to build a cushion and never let go of the lead to win the World Cup’s first all-European final since 2006.
The tournament most valuable player Dennis Schroder carried Germany with a game-high 28 points, way above his average of 17.9 points per game, and added two rebounds and two assists.
Germany became the first team to win a FIBA World Cup crown in their final debut since Spain in 2006. Serbia absorbed another heartbreak after losing to the United States 129-92 in the 2014 final in Madrid, Spain, though they finished better than their quarter-final exit in 2019.
The two teams, who boast strong teamwork and chemistry, traded baskets in the first half and entered the break at 47 apiece but Germany built up a 12-point lead late on in the third quarter and never looked back.
Marko Guduric converted two free throws, cutting Germany’s lead to two, 79-77, with 39.5 ticks to go in the final frame. Howeve, a costly turnover and missed three-pointers prevented Serbia’s comeback.
Earlier, Canada bagged their first World Cup podium finish at the expense of short-handed United States 127-118 in overtime in a riveting, record-setting bronze-medal game.