For the first time in history, Canada has advanced to the semifinals of the FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup. The progression comes in the wake of Canada’s 100 – 89 victory over Slovenia at the Mall of Asia Arena, which transpired on Wednesday.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Canadian charge on the court, registering a whopping 31 points and 10 rebounds. RJ Barrett closely trailed him, putting up an impressive 24 points along with nine rebounds. Dillon Brooks also made a notable contribution with his 14 points, although he was compelled to exit the game with 7:06 remaining in the fourth quarter due to a second technical foul.
The morale among the Canadian team is understandably high at the moment, with Gilgeous-Alexander remarking post the match, “It’s an honour. But we’re not satisfied.”
To the Slovenians’ despair, Luka Doncic emerged as their lead scorer with 26 points but was adjudged out less than a minute after Brooks. Despite trailing by 17 points with 5:36 left in the fourth quarter, Slovenia managed to whittle the deficit to nine. Unfortunately, they were unable to grasp victory from the jaws of defeat as Gilgeous-Alexander responded swiftly with an effective pull-up jumper, galvanising Canada’s dominance.
The ranking 15th Canadians are set to cross paths with the 6th-ranked Serbian team in the coming Friday morning match. Simultaneously, Germany, victors over Latvia 81-79 the same Wednesday, will engage in a face-off with the United States in the tournament’s other semifinal.
The grand finale, including medal games, is scheduled for Sunday, with both, players’ and fans’ anticipations running high. Canada’s historical best at the tournament are a couple of sixth-place finishes, achieved in 1978 and 1982. The upcoming match with Serbia, having reached the final in 2014 and earning semifinal spots at three of the last four editions of the tournament, marks the first ever encounter between the two nations at this event.
It is worth noting that Canada most recently secured qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics on Sunday with a nail-biting 88-85 comeback victory over the top-ranked defending champion, Spain. The Canadian men’s team, having not participated in the Summer Games since the Sydney Olympics back in 2000, is undoubtedly relishing its momentous return.