Serbia and Venezuela will start their campaign in the 2016 Rio Olympics basketball men’s competition on Saturday night at the Carioca Arena 1 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Venezuela booked a ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics basketball competition after ruling the 2015 FIBA Americas championship. They were optimistic of their chances heading into the tournament but recently suffered a big blow.
Greivis Vasquez, who is the only NBA player expected to play for Venezuela, did not make the trip to Rio. The playmaker opted to skip the competition to prepare himself for the upcoming 2015-16 NBA season, where he is looking to be in full strength.
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Without Vasquez, Venezuela will lean on Heissler Guillent, Jose Vargas and Gregory Vargas. Gregory Echenique could also make an impact with his solid presence inside the paint for the reigning FIBA Americas champions.
On the other hand, Serbia will parade a solid roster, which showed its potential when they rule the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament on home soil to earn a ticket to Rio.
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is the lone NBA player on the roster, but they are not lacking star power this year. Veteran Milos Teodosic is expected to provide stability to the squad, while Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Nedovic and Miroslav Raduljica will have big responsibilities on their shoulders as well.
Raduljica said that they lost their rhythm after winning the FIBA OQT in Serbia. But heading into their tournament opener, the 28-year-old made sure that all players are focused on their task in Rio.
“We came here to compete and win every game that we can so it is pretty exciting to be here among the best sportsmen, athletes in the world,” Raduljica told FIBA. “So we’re pretty honored to be here but all of the guys have both feet on the ground and they’re smart and focused on the goal.”
The Venezuela vs Serbia match will start at 9:30 p.m. ET. Basketball aficionados can watch the 2016 Rio Olympics basketball competition through online live stream via NBC Olympics and NBC Sports Live Extra.
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