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Dillon Brooks impresses Pinoy 'Laker Land' with historic performance to lead Canada to FIBA World Cup bronze

From being the "villain" at the start of the FIBA World Cup final phase, Dillon Brooks suddenly felt the love from the MOA Arena crowd after a historic night. Kennelf Monteza
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--The Philippines is known for a prominent Los Angeles Lakers fanbase, primarily due to Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, so the Filipinos were among those who bashed Dillon Brooks online when he hurled some choice words at James in interviews during the NBA Playoffs series between the Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies.

During the player introductions for Canada in the FIBA World Cup final phase at the SM Mall of Asia Arena here, the Pinoy "Laker Land" made its presence felt by showering Brooks with boos.

More boos were hurled at Dillon Brooks on Sunday night when Canada took Team USA featuring rising Lakers star Austin Reaves for the bronze medal.

However, Dillon Brooks was unfazed by the jeers and the villain tag and just let his game do the rebuttal.

"Everybody was throwing shots on Twitter and Instagram watching me play, but it just helps me get better and better each and every day. It motivates me to be better on the court for my teammates for whatever team I play for. It just motivates me to keep going," said Brooks, who is now with the Houston Rockets for the upcoming NBA season.

Dillon Brooks added, "It's just a persona. People love it. I've grown to love myself. It's just like Kobe Bryant--RIP to Kobe Bryant--on how he had to figure out and create 'The Black Mamba', a different persona when he comes on the court, so I guess that's my persona, being the villain just on the court."

Dillon Brooks turns boos into 'MVP' chants

Something special, though, took place on Sunday night with a podium finish on the line.

Brooks caught fire from beyond the arc, making his first six three-point shots, and suddenly, the perceived heel of the FIBA World Cup final phase got a face pop from most of the 10,666 fans at the MOA Arena.

The Laker-motivated boos became "MVP" chants as if they are seeing Brooks lead the Rockets to the win.

"It's just an amazing feeling to be recognized during the game," Brooks further said, adding that he also got MVP chants from the Indonesian fans at the Indonesia Arena in Jakarta during the group phase.

Dillon Brooks finished with 39 points, a career-high in all competitions, that is, he even eclipsed his NBA career-high of 37.

He also set the record for the most points scored by an individual in a FIBA World Cup medal game.

Most importantly, Canada won the bronze by stunning Team USA in overtime, 127-118.

However, Brooks is not yet done, at least for Team Canada, as they now set sights on a medal in next year's Paris Olympics.

"The work doesn't stop here. It keeps going. I'm not satisfied, and neither are any of us on this team," he further said.

His last word to the haters? "I just appreciate you from the beginning."

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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