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Serbia (men)
29/07/2008SRB - Serbia arrive in Nanjing in good form

NANJING (FIBA Diamond Ball for Men) - Serbia warmed up for this week's Diamond Ball for Men with a three-game sweep of their opponents to win the Mechel Cup in Moscow.

Dusan Ivkovic's men prevailed 90-56 over Ukraine, 89-74 over Latvia 89-74 and 75-74 over EuroBasket 2007 winners Russia.

The Russians' point guard JR Holden, who hit a late shot to beat Spain in the European title game last year, missed a potential game-winner at the end in the Mechel Cup against the Serbians.

Nenad Krstic and Zoran Erceg each made crucial free throws in the final minute to help the Serbians claim a confidence-boosting win.

"We played this last game without any pressure, and victory will be a good injection of self confidence before our next tasks," Ivkovic said.

"On the other hand, Russia now have both feet on the ground, which could be important for them before their games at the Olympic tournament. Therefore, I think this game was useful for both teams."

Erceg led Serbia with 20 points - he buried a trio of three-pointers and also grabbed six rebounds.

Uros Tripkovic scored 14 and Krstic added 13.

Holden had a game-high 20 points, and Andrei Kirilenko 10 as Russia finished the tournament with two wins and one defeat.

Serbia are now in Nanjing to take part in the Diamond Ball Tournament with five other teams - Australia, Iran, China, Argentina and Angola - who are preparing for the Olympics.


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