By Jared Grellet
|Stefan Pot had his best game for Serbia when it counted most in the quarter-finals|
Turning Point: Serbia go on a 10-0 run early in the second half, going from a point down to be leading by nine. They did not give up the lead again.
Game Hero: Stefan Pot. Sunk two three-pointers on the 10-run, finishing with nine points in the third quarter and 24 for the game.
Stats Don't Lie: Serbia dominated the boards, out-rebounding Bulgaria 39-26.
Stefan Pot has sealed Serbia's place in the final four at the Samsung U18 European Championship, scoring 24 points to lead his team past some stubborn Bulgarian resistance for the 88-79 win.
Averaging just 5.3 points a night prior to the quarter-finals, Pot produced one of the most significant games of his young career, shooting six-for-eight from outside the arc to power Serbia into the semi-finals.
Bulgaria proved to be a frustrating opponent for the Serbians who created healthy leads at the beginning of the first half and immediately after half-time, only for Bulgaria to force their way back into the game.
However, when the Serbs broke away again at the start of the final period, there was no coming back a third time for Petko Delev's team.
Nikola Jankovic and Pot were running the show early for the Serbs, coming together to provide 14 points in the opening frame to give their side an early 12-point lead.
Entering the game from the bench to play all of the second quarter, Denislav Vutev was leading the second quarter charge from Bulgaria who fought back to be within a point at the break.
When Pot hit twice from outside early in the third, it appeared that Bulgaria's good work at coming back had been undone as Serbia went up by nine.
But with Kris Minkov repeating Vutev's performance off the bench a period earlier, Bulgaria were hanging on by six going into the final quarter.
However, with more experience to call on in the final quarter, Serbia stayed in control as Nikola Radicevic provided 10 points late to assure his team of an uncomplicated trip to the semis.
Radicevic ended with 21 points, 11 assists and six rebounds, whilst Jankovic finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Aleksandar Vezenkov topped scoring for Bulgaria with 16 points.