Dillon Brooks Leads Canada to Historic Win at FIBA World Cup

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After suffering the sting of boos earlier in the tournament, Dillon Brooks was ultimately serenaded by the cheers of an admiring crowd chanting “MVP”. His response to this stunning turnaround? A heartfelt thank you to his detractors.

In an impressive performance, Brooks recorded a game-high 39 points, piloting Canada to its pioneer medal at the FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup. The triumphant match was a heart-throbbing 127-118 overtime win against the U.S. in the bronze-medal showdown on Sunday.

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Brooks, hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, made Canadian FIBA World Cup history by setting a new single-game scoring record, surpassing Carl Ridd’s initial high score of 37 points in 1954.

His exceptional performance included 7-of-8 successful attempts from three-point range, and overall, 12-of-18 shots made from the field. The Houston Rockets forward didn’t leave without making his mark in the defence by earning the title of the tournament’s defensive player.

The candid star, in his post-game press conference, expressed his appreciation for the critics that spurred his growth, “From the beginning, everyone that was throwing shots on social media, watching me play… It just helps me get better each and every day.”

His love for the sport and his home country was evident as he beamed, “Just happy to be able to put this jersey on. I’m just happy to be here with my teammates and represent my country, for the Canadians out there.”

Canadian head coach, Jordi Fernandez, was profuse in his praise for the basketball player. “Really proud of Dillon. This is how it looks like when they let Dillon Brooks play.” Fernandez underscored not only his defensive prowess but also his standing as the “best perimeter defender in the World Cup” alongside Lu Dort.

Further boosting the energy on court, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 31 points, six rebounds, and 12 assists. His outstanding contributions led him to be named a tournament all-star. RJ Barrett was not far behind, chipping in with 23 points and seven rebounds.

This longstanding success marked Canada’s first medal in the World Cup or Olympics since the Berlin Games in 1936, where the country claimed silver.

The win capped Canada’s historical progression, taking them to the second round of the tournament for the first time since 1998, and laid down an essentials foundation in ending Canada’s Olympic drought dating back to 2000. They even achieved quarterfinals berth for the first time since 1994.

Brooks attributed the team’s motivation to the loss against Serbia in the semifinals, pushing them to play a tougher game against the U.S. – themselves led by Anthony Edwards’ 24 points.

The thrilling showdown played out to the last second. The U.S. stole the lead with a 12-0 run but Canada clinched back the lead with Gilgeous-Alexander’s jumper. Free throws from Brooks saw Canada take a narrow lead, only for the U.S. to strike back. The match moved into overtime, culminating in a Canada victory with Barrett’s straightaway three with mere 44 seconds left.

Canada’s monumental win was completed with a resounding defensive performance, holding the U.S. to just one field goal in overtime. These achievements have undoubtedly set a high bar for the future of Canadian basketball, a testament to their unwavering resilience and undying spirit.