Canada dethrones Spain as FIBA World Cup champ with comeback win

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the way for Canada's come-from-behind win against Spain. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--As action permanently shifts to the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay beginning Tuesday, a new FIBA World Cup champion will be crowned.

Canada put a painful end to Spain's title defense with an 88-85 come-from-behind win in their second-round meeting late Sunday night at the Indonesia Arena in Jakarta.

Canada, which has a rough FIBA World Cup history of conceding to defeats after trailing by double digits, finally completed a comeback from 10 points down or more.

Down 12 at the end of the third quarter and seven, 71-78, with only four minutes left in the fourth, Canada suddenly came alive in the perimeter with triples from Nickiel Alexander-Walker and Dillon Brooks and a stepback jumper from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with an and-one from Gilgeous-Alexander in between for an 82-80 lead with 44 seconds left.

Gilgeous-Alexander's brilliance from the free-throw line then helped Canada stay afloat despite Spain's gallant stand through a Juan Nunez layup and Santi Aldama's three.

Alex Abrines tried to send the game to overtime, but he missed a long three as time expired.

Gilgeous-Alexander led Canada, which also earned a direct entry to the Paris Olympics as one of the two best teams from the Americas in the FIBA World Cup, the other being the United States, with 30 points, four rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

Dillon Brooks added 22 points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block.

Willy Hernangomez put up 25 points, six rebounds, three assists, and one block, while Santi Aldama added 20 points and two rebounds for Spain.

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