Header Ads Widget

Canada captures 1st FIBA World Cup podium finish, stuns USA

Canada capped a historic FIBA World Cup finish with a stunner against Team USA for the bronze. Kennelf Monteza
By John Rhey Piamonte

PASAY--Capping off its historic World Cup stint with yet another feat, Canada delivered in the clutch to prevail over North American rival United States, in a hard-fought 127-118 win to capture the country’s first podium finish in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. 

In front of the 10,666 capacity crowd, Canada rode on the game-long brilliance of stars Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dillion Brooks to stun Team USA and bagged the bronze medal on Sunday night, at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

Canada earlier secured a qualifying berth at the upcoming 2024 Paris Games, its first Olympic ticket in over two decades after finishing as one of the top two American teams alongside the USA in the World Cup.  

Fresh from an All-NBA season, Gilgeous-Alexander spearheaded Canada's overtime campaign as he dropped seven straight points to break the deadlock and hand his team a 118-112 advantage with three minutes left to play in the extra period. 

Team USA pulled off a couple of more stops in the deciding minutes but Brooks’ two-made throws made it a three-possession ball game for Canada, 125-118 sealing the deal in the process. 

Brooks exploded for 39 huge points, the most for a player in a medal-winning game in FIBA World Cup history while Shai added 31 markers for the Road Warriors. 

“It is a fun group, a fun experience. Being part of history,” the 25-year-old Gilgeous-Alexander said. “We just came out here to play basketball. We know we won the first 40 minutes so we just went on to focus on winning the next five,” he added. 

Canada came out red hot from 3-point land in the opening quarter as the current world no. 15  knocked down six triples to build an early 34-25 lead. 

Missing the services of Paolo Banchero, Brandon Ingram, and Jaren Jackson Jr. due to illness, the undermanned Team USA managed to find their rhythm in the second quarter, with Anthony Edwards leading the 15-2 bomb for a 40-36 reversal. 

The Road Warriors then went on a 31-point third quarter for a 91-82 advantage. 

Both teams traded crucial buckets one after the other in the fourth period but a mid-range jumper from Gilgeous-Alexander propelled Canada to a 109-107 cushion. 

Facing a 107-111 disadvantage with just under 20 seconds left in the quarter, Mikal Bridges led the late-game surge for Team USA as he drained the free-throw and the game-tying three that forced the game to overtime at 111-all.

Edwards topped the scoring department for the United States as he finished with 24 points, alongside five rebounds and three assists. 

Bridges and Austin Reeves also contributed 19 and 23 points for Team USA in a losing effort. 

It was the second straight World Cup edition wherein the United States failed to bring home a medal, with the initial being their seventh-place finish in the 2019 Games held in China. 

Follow him on X: @rhey_piamonte

Post a Comment