FIBA Basketball World Cup: Bogdanovic stars in Serbia win, Scola leads Argentina to victory

The 2019 FIBA World Cup got up and running on Saturday as Serbia, Italy and Argentina all kicked off with victories.

#7 Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Serbia National Team in action against the Angola National Team during the 1st round of 2019 FIBA World Cup in Foshan, China.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Serbia got the 2019 FIBA World Cup started with a comprehensive victory over Angola in China on Saturday.

NBA stars Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nikola Jokic led their side to an opening win, before Spain and Italy also got up and running on the first day of the tournament.

A World Cup veteran starred for Argentina, while hosts China also began with a victory.
 

BIG NAMES SECURE BIG WIN

Serbia's stars made a strong start against Angola, who were completely overmatched in a 105-59 defeat.

Sacramento Kings guard Bogdanovic stole the show as he finished with 24 points, although Denver Nuggets superstar Jokic also contributed handily from the bench, adding 14 points, six assists and five rebounds.

Serbia, among the contenders in China, will face far sterner tests but enjoyed its first victory.

Head coach Sasha Djordjevic said: "Everyone talks about the first game, about a little bit of pressure, but in this one we really had a great game, a great opener - defensively and offensively."

Group D also saw Italy enjoy its greatest ever margin of victory at a World Cup, beating Philippines 108-62 after tying the all-time tournament record of 37 points in the first quarter.
 

SCOLA SET TO CLIMB ALL-TIME TABLE

Luis Scola is now 39 and he entered this tournament third on the all-time points list with 573 and, as a Shanghai Sharks player, should feel at home in China.

With former Australia star Andrew Gaze second in that table on 594, Scola will expect to move up the standings in the coming weeks and he took a stride towards doing so with 15 points in a big Argentina win.

The Argentina captain contributed nine rebounds, too, as South Korea were beaten 95-69.

Elsewhere in the same group, Russia edged Nigeria 82-77.
 

RUBIO STARS FOR SPAIN, CHINA TRIUMPH

Spain, the 2006 world champions, accelerated away from Tunisia in the second half to secure a 101-62 victory, with Ricky Rubio predictably central to their success.

Rubio grabbed 17 points and nine assists. Juancho Hernangomez gathered 13 points and eight rebounds in less than 19 minutes.

Elsewhere, an incredible final minute - including two David Huertas three-pointers - saw Puerto Rico beat Iran 83-81, having trailed by 19 points earlier in the game.

In Group A, hosts China was not made to pay for its profligacy from beyond the arc - shooting one of 10 - as they beat Ivory Coast in a low-scoring affair 70-55.

Meanwhile, Poland marked its return to the World Cup after 52 years away with an 80-69 victory over Venezuela.